An enterogastrone is a hormone produced in the duodenum of the intestinal tract to facilitate certain digestive processes. These hormones respond to environmental factors like the presence of chyme, partially digested food that contains an assortment of lipids and other molecules along with secretions like bile. It is possible to measure enterogastrone levels in a patient with a digestive disorder to learn more about the origins of the disorder and how it impacts the patient's digestion. Blood testing as well as direct testing through endoscopic procedures is available for different medical applications.
The cells that produce these hormones are located in the duodenal wall, and have receptors that lock onto various components of chyme. Some examples of enterogastrones include cholecystokinin and secretin. Levels of various hormones can fluctuate in response to changing conditions inside the duodenum, and tend to increase during digestion while falling off at other times because the digestive tract is less active during these periods.
One thing an enterogastrone can do is produce alkaline conditions to counteract acids in the duodenum. These hormones can also cut down on secretions of bile and other compounds by signaling other cells in the digestive tract. Some reduce motility, while others may communicate to trigger the production and release of hormones like insulin. Digestion is an extremely complex, multiphase process that involves scores of signals from hormones like the enterogastrones.
Some of the enterogastrone hormones were among the earliest identified and defined by medical researchers. Study of the digestive tract revealed the nature of relationships between different hormones, enzymes, and other compounds and illustrated how they interacted to promote digestion. This research also helpfully showed what happens when patients have congenital disorders that disrupt the production of key enzymes and hormones, changing the way they digest food.
Errors in digestion can sometimes be the result of increased or decreased hormone production. If a doctor suspects a hormone imbalance, the patient may need some tests to learn more. These can include fasting tests to detect levels after a period of not eating, as well as challenge tests after eating to see how the levels change. Doctors can also introduce enterogastrone hormones to the patient in testing to see how the body responds to them, to determine if a disorder is caused by insensitivity to a particular hormone or to trigger an event like the release of bile to see how the patient's biliary tract behaves.