Gastrointestinal hormones: History, biology, and measurement

Jens F Rehfeld*, Jens P Goetze

*Corresponding author for this work


This chapter attempts to provide an all-round picture of a dynamic and major branch of modern endocrinology, i.e. the gastrointestinal endocrinology. The advances during the last half century in our understanding of the dimensions and diversity of gut hormone biology - inside as well as outside the digestive tract - are astounding. Among major milestones are the dual brain-gut relationship, i.e. the comprehensive expression of gastrointestinal hormones as potent transmitters in central and peripheral neurons; the hormonal signaling from the enteroendocrine cells to the brain and other extraintestinal targets; the role of gut hormones as growth and fertility factors; and the new era of gut hormone-derived drugs. Accordingly, gastrointestinal hormones have pathogenetic roles in major metabolic disorders (diabetes mellitus and obesity); in tumor development (common cancers, sarcomas, and neuroendocrine tumors); and in cerebral diseases (anxiety, panic attacks, and probably eating disorders). Such clinical aspects require accurate pathogenetic and diagnostic measurements of gastrointestinal hormones - an obvious responsibility for clinical chemistry/biochemistry. In order to obtain a necessary insight into today's gastrointestinal endocrinology, the chapter will first describe the advances in gastrointestinal endocrinology in a historical context. The history provides a background for the subsequent description of the present biology of gastrointestinal hormones, and its biomedical consequences - not least for clinical chemistry/biochemistry with its specific responsibility for selection of appropriate assays and reliable measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Clinical Chemistry
EditorsGregory S. Makowski
Number of pages44
Publication date2024
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-443-29562-1
Publication statusPublished - 2024
SeriesAdvances in Clinical Chemistry


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