The Gastrointestinal Hormones: An Overview
In ancient times all roads led to Rome; and so it is on the present occasion when we are gathered here from many countries and continents to consider some of the hormonal activities in health and disease of what is now recognised to be the largest and most complex endocrine organ in the body — the digestive system. I am sure we are all conscious of the privilege of meeting in the capital city of that country in which originated the great revival of culture and learning in Europe after the long period of the ‘Dark Ages’; and no doubt Dr. Grossman will remind us that this year is the 75th anniversary of the discovery by Bayliss and Starling of the “messenger function” of hormones as exemplified by secretin. This discovery brought to an end the Pavlovian era of the 19th century in which the gastrointestinal mechanisms were explained in terms of nervous reflexes; but although great advances soon followed in respect of other endocrine organs, 60 years were to elapse before the study of the gastrointestinal hormones could enter upon the astonishing expansion of knowledge of their nature and understanding of their functions which we are all now playing some part in furthering.
KeywordsDigestive System Endocrine Cell Endocrine Organ Gastrointestinal Hormone Primitive Activity
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