Digestive Hormones Definition

Digestive hormones – chemical messengers that stimulate or inhibit gastrointestinal functions. Organs and structures of the gastrointestinal system synthesize and release digestive hormones in response to chemical and physiologic changes that take place with the ingestion of food and its passage through the gastrointestinal tract.

The major Digestive Hormones are

  • Gastrin, which stimulates the stomach to release gastric juices and begin contracting
  • Cholecystokinin (CCK), which stimulates the gallbladder to release bile, the pancreas to release digestive juices, and the stomach to slow the release of chyme (the slushy mix of food and digestive secretions) into the duodenum (first segment of the small intestine)
  • Secretin, which accelerates bile release from the gallbladder, stimulates the pancreas to release bicarbonates to neutralize stomach acid, and slows the release of gastric juices as chyme advances from the stomach into the duodenum
  • Motilin, which stimulates peristalsis (contractions of the gastrointestinal tract)
  • Gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP), which stimulates the pancreas to release insulin, slows (inhibits) the release of gastric juices, and slows stomach contractions
  • Enterogastrone, which stimulates the stomach to release chyme into the duodenum
  • Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), which stops the production of gastric acid
  • Somatostatin, which stops the release of insulin and further slows gastric motility (the stomach’s contractions)


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