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Clinical endocrinology and metabolism. Cholecystokinin.

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Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.


Cholecystokinin (CCK) is a peptide hormone discovered in the small intestine. Together with secretin and gastrin, CCK constitutes the classical gut hormone triad. In addition to gallbladder contraction, CCK also regulates pancreatic enzyme secretion and growth, intestinal motility, satiety signalling and the inhibition of gastric acid secretion. CCK is, however, also a transmitter in central and intestinal neurons. Notably, CCK is the most abundant neuropeptide in the human brain. Owing to difficulties in developing accurate assays, knowledge about CCK secretion in disease is limited. Available data indicate, however, that proCCK is expressed in certain neuroendocrine tumours and sarcomas, whereas the secretion of CCK is impaired in celiac disease and bulimia nervosa. Stimulation with exogenous CCK has proved useful in diagnostic tests of gallbladder and pancreatic diseases, as well as medullary thyroid carcinomas.

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