Gut hormone biology – University of Copenhagen

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English > Research > Gut hormone biology

Gut Hormone Biology laboratory

GLP-1 is an incretin hormone and regulates the glucosehomeostasis, while GLP-2 is an intestinotrophic hormone, regulating the size and absorptive capacity of the GI tract. Both hormones are secreted from the intestinal endocrine L-cells upon food intake.

In the group we work with the extra-pancreatic effects of GLP-1 in relation to pulmonary and intestinal diseases. We are interested in the importance of the endogenous secreted hormones and the mechanism of action of the beneficial effects on pulmonary and intestinal diseases. We are also interested in the implication of GLP-2 in colon cancer.

Research areas

The gut hormone biology lab is working within three different research areas.

GLP-1 and pulmonary diseases

We have a model of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in mice. We use ovalbumin to sensitize the mice and after ten days we give them inhalations with lipopolysaccharide and ovalbumin, this mediates an acute worsening in their respiratory function.

We measure the pulmonary function in a whole body plethysmograph. We discovered that treatment with GLP-1 had a beneficial effect on COPD and we are working to elucidate the mechanism of action behind this.

Read more about GLP-1 and pulmonary diseases

Gut hormones and colon cancer

Our group was the first to show that treatment with the intestinotrophic hormone GLP-2 could promote the development of tumors in a model of colonic adenomas in mice. On the other hand we have no idea if the endogenous secreted hormone is implicated in the initiation or promotion of colonic cancers. Using colon cancer cell lines and knock out animals we aim to investigate if the GLP-2 secreting L-cell is implicated in colon cancer. 

Read more about gut hormones and colon cancer

Gut hormones and intestinal injury


We think that both hormones are important for protection of the intestinal epithelia upon injury, such as chemotherapy induced mucositis. We have shown, that treatment with GLP-1 and GLP-2 can ameliorate the intestestinal injury seen after chemotherapy in mice. When given in combination the effect is additive. We are working to elucidate if the endogenous secreted hormones are important for the intestinal recovery after damage. 

Read more about gut hormones and intestinal diseases