Responses of python gastrointestinal regulatory peptides to feeding

Stephen M. Secor, Drew Fehsenfeld, Jared Diamond, Thomas E. Adrian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


In the Burmese python (Python molurus), the rapid up-regulation of gastrointestinal (GI) function and morphology after feeding, and subsequent down-regulation on completing digestion, are expected to be mediated by GI hormones and neuropeptides. Hence, we examined postfeeding changes in plasma and tissue concentrations of 11 GI hormones and neuropeptides in the python. Circulating levels of cholecystokinin (CCK), glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP), glucagon, and neurotensin increase by respective factors of 25-, 6-, 6-, and 3.3-fold within 24 h after feeding. In digesting pythons, the regulatory peptides neurotensin, somatostatin, motilin, and vasoactive intestinal peptide occur largely in the stomach, GIP and glucagon in the pancreas, and CCK and substance P in the small intestine. Tissue concentrations of CCK, GIP, and neurotensin decline with feeding. Tissue distributions and molecular forms (as determined by gel-permeation chromatography) of many python GI peptides are similar or identical to those of their mammalian counterparts. The postfeeding release of GI peptides from tissues, and their concurrent rise in plasma concentrations, suggests that they play a role in regulating pythondigestive responses. These large postfeeding responses, and similarities of peptide structure with mammals, make pythons an attractive model for studying GI peptides.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13637-13642
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Nov 20 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Hormones
  • Neuropeptides
  • Postprandial
  • Python molurus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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