Postprandial Administration of Intranasal Insulin Intensifies Satiety and Reduces Intake of Palatable Snacks in Women

  1. Hendrik Lehnert3
  1. 1Department of Neuroendocrinology, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany
  2. 2School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, U.K.
  3. 3Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany
  1. Corresponding author: Manfred Hallschmid, hallschmid{at}


The role of brain insulin signaling in the control of food intake in humans has not been thoroughly defined. We hypothesized that the hormone contributes to the postprandial regulation of appetite for palatable food, and assessed the effects on appetite and snack intake of postprandial versus fasted intranasal insulin administration to the brain in healthy women. Two groups of subjects were intranasally administered 160 IU insulin or vehicle after lunch. Two hours later, consumption of cookies of varying palatability was measured under the pretext of a taste test. In a control study, the effects of intranasal insulin administered to fasted female subjects were assessed. Compared with placebo, insulin administration in the postprandial but not in the fasted state decreased appetite as well as intake and rated palatability of chocolate chip cookies (the most palatable snack offered). In both experiments, intranasal insulin induced a slight decrease in plasma glucose but did not affect serum insulin concentrations. Data indicate that brain insulin acts as a relevant satiety signal during the postprandial period, in particular reducing the intake of highly palatable food, and impacts peripheral glucose homeostasis. Postprandial intranasal insulin administration might be useful in curtailing overconsumption of snacks with accentuated rewarding value.

  • Received October 2, 2011.
  • Accepted December 18, 2011.

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  1. Diabetes vol. 61 no. 4 782-789
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