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Regul Pept. 2012 Aug 10;177 Suppl:S1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.regpep.2012.05.087.

Beginnings: a reflection on the history of gastrointestinal endocrinology.

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1
Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark. jens.f.rehfeld@rh.regionh.dk

Abstract

The gut is the largest endocrine organ in the body. Gut hormones share some characteristics: Their structure groups hormones into families, each of which originate from a single gene. A hormone gene is often expressed in multiple peptides due to tandem genes, alternative splicing or differentiated posttranslational processing. By these mechanisms, more than 100 different hormonally active peptides are produced in the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, gut hormones are widely expressed outside the gut. The different cell types often express different products of the same gene and release the peptides in different ways. Consequently, the same peptide may act as a hormone, a local growth factor, or a neurotransmitter. This new biology suggests that gastrointestinal hormones should be conceived as intercellular messengers of major general impact. The following short review is a vignette on steps in the history of gastrointestinal endocrinology from classic studies of digestive juice secretion over peptide chemistry, immunochemistry, and molecular genetics to modern receptor pharmacology and drug development. From shadowy beginnings, gastrointestinal endocrinology has emerged as a central discipline in the understanding of multicellular life and its diseases.

PMID:
22726356
DOI:
10.1016/j.regpep.2012.05.087
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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