Glucagon-like peptide 2 (GLP-2) is an important peptide growth factor secreted from the human intestine. The trophic properties of GLP-2 are very specific to the gut where it is pivotal in the regulation of mucosal morphology, function and integrity.Aims
This review details the current understanding of the molecular biology of GLP-2, its mechanisms of action and physiological properties. A major focus is the discussion of recent clinical data evaluating the use of GLP-2 as a therapeutic agent.Methods
Relevant articles were identified using Medline searches and from the reference lists of key papers.Results and Conclusions
In the treatment of short bowel syndrome, GLP-2 has been shown to be highly effective in improving fluid absorption. In Crohn's disease, GLP-2 is superior to placebo in the induction of remission. Early data also suggest that the effects of GLP-2 on bone metabolism can provide a new treatment approach for patients with osteoporosis. In the future, the positive effects of GLP-2 on intestinal barrier function, splanchnic perfusion and mucosal healing could be utilized to expand its therapeutic application to other causes of intestinal injury. However, important safety aspects need to be considered when using this potent growth-promoting agent for a long term.