The transport of food from the oesophagus to the anal canal is dependent on the motility of the gut. This motility is dependent on the integrated function of several physiological units. These include enteric and extrinsic autonomic nerves, mechano- and chemo-receptors, sensory nerves and hormonal status, as well as intrinsic properties of the smooth muscles themselves. An increasing amount of evidence points to the importance of regulatory peptides in all these instances. Previous chapters of this book have described several of the peptides individually; the aim of this chapter is to summarize briefly the integrated functions of the peptides and other regulatory substances in maintaining the complicated tasks of gut motility control. Detailed recent reviews on mammals are available for further reading in e.g. Johnson (1987). For a review of comparative studies including non-mammalian vertebrates the reader is referred to Nilsson (1983).


Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide Longitudinal Muscle Enteric Nervous System Circular Muscle 
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