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The gastrointestinal hormones (or gut hormones) constitute a group of hormones secreted by enteroendocrine cells in the stomach, pancreas, and small intestine that control various functions of the digestive organs. Later studies showed that most of the gut peptides, such as secretin, cholecystokinin or substance P, were found to play a role of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators in the central and peripheral nervous systems.
Enteroendocrine cells do not form endocrine glands but are spread throughout the digestive tract. They exert their autocrine and paracrine actions that integrate all of gastrointestinal function.
Types of Gastrointestinal hormones
The gastrointestinal hormones can be divided into three main groups based upon their chemical structure.
- Gastrin-cholecystokinin family: gastrin and cholecystokinin
- Secretin family: secretin, glucagon, vasoactive intestinal peptide and gastric inhibitory peptide
- Somatostatin family
- Motilin family
- Substance P.
Ghrelin is a peptide hormone released from the stomach and is often referred to as the "hunger hormone" since high levels of it are found in individuals that are fasting. Ghrelin antagonistic treatments can be used to treat illnesses such as anorexia and loss of appetites in cancer patients. Ghrelin treatments for obesity are still under intense scrutiny and no conclusive evidence has been reached. This hormone stimulates growth hormone release.
Cholecystokinin is responsible for gall bladder secretions, gastrointestinal motility as well as pancreatic exocrine secretions.
Peptide YY is involved mostly in satiation modulation.
Pancreatic polypeptide function is most apparent in control of gastrointestinal motility and satiation
Amylin controls glucose homeostasis and gastric motility
Glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide possesses an acute influence on food intake through its effects on adipocytes
Glucagon-like peptide-1 has an effect on incretin activity as well as satiation
Glucagon-like peptide-2 is responsible for gastrointestinal motility and growth
Oxyntomodulin plays a role in controlling acid secretion and satiation
- Overview of Gastrointestinal Hormones - Colorado State University website