Cholecystokinin: its role in health and disease

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Cholecystokinin is a classical gastrointestinal hormone secreted from endocrine cells of the small intestine on ingestion of a meal. It plays a major role in the coordination of many processes involved in the ingestion, digestion, and absorption of nutrients. In addition, cholecystokinin is produced by nerves of the peripheral nervous system and brain, where it functions as a neuroregulator. Since its discovery, important milestones in understanding the physiology and pathophysiology of cholecystokinin include (1) elucidation of its chemical composition and amino acid sequence, (2) development of assays for measuring blood levels of the hormone, (3) cloning of the cDNA and gene encoding cholecystokinin, (4) characterization of the cholecystokinin receptor, and (5) creation of novel cholecystokinin receptor agonists and antagonists. New molecular technologies continue to bring forward new insights into understanding of the biology of cholecystokinin. The current review places into context recent discoveries that impact understanding of the role of cholecystokinin in human health and disease.

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