Cocaine- and Amphetamine-Regulated Transcript (CART ) Peptide in Mammals Gastrointestinal System – A Review

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Since its first description over 30 years ago, cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) peptide has been the subject of many studies. Most of these investigations pertain to occurrence and functions of CART within the central nervous system, where this peptide first of all takes part in regulation of feeding, stress reactions, as well as neuroprotective and neuroregenerative processes. However, in recent years more and more studies concern the presence of CART in the gastrointestinal system. This peptide has been described both in stomach and intestine, as well as in other digestive organs such as pancreas or gallbladder. Particularly much information relates to distribution of CART in the enteric nervous system, which is located within the wall of digestive tract. Other studies have described this peptide in intestinal endocrinal cells. Moreover, it is known that CART can be present in various types of neuronal cells and may co-localize with different types of other neuronal active substances, which play roles of neuromediators and/or neuromodulators. On the other hand precise functions of CART in the gastrointestinal system still remain unknown. It is assumed that this peptide is involved in the regulation of gastrointestinal motility, intestinal blood flow, secretion of intestinal juice, somatostatin and/or insulin, as well as takes part in pathological processes within the gastrointestinal tract. The large number of recent studies concerning the above mentioned problems makes that knowledge about occurrence and functions of CART in the digestive system rather piecemeal and requires clarifying, which is the aim of the present article.

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