BENZON SYMPOSIUM No. 53 The New Biology of the Gastrin-Cholecystokinin Family of Hormones

October 9-12, 2006 – Copenhagen, Denmark

Organizing committee: Jens F. Rehfeld (Copenhagen), Jens Bundgaard (Copenhagen), Anders H. Johnsen (Copenhagen), Rolf Håkanson (Lund) and Arne Svejgaard (Copenhagen) Invited speakers and chairmen: Joel W. ADELSON, USA – Margery C. BEINFELD, USA – Sir James BLACK, United Kingdom – Luc BOUWENS, Belgium – Jacques BRADWEJN, Canada – Jens R. BUNDGAARD, Denmark – Duan CHEN, Norway – Graham J. DOCKRAY, United Kingdom – Jan FAHRENKRUG, Denmark – Daniel FOURMY, France – Lennart FRIIS-HANSEN, Denmark – Hans Hermann GERDES, Norway – Jens P. GØTZE, Denmark – Gary M. GREEN, USA – Rolf HÅKANSON, Sweden – Linda HILSTED, Denmark – Tomas HÖKFELT, Sweden – Jens Juul HOLST, Denmark – Robert T. JENSEN, USA – Anders H. JOHNSEN, Denmark – Alan S. KOPIN, USA – Iris LINDBERG, USA – Juanita L. MERCHANT, USA – Finn Cilius NIELSEN, Denmark – Jens F. REHFELD, Denmark – Jean Claude REUBI, Switzerland – Ove B. SCHAFFALITZKY DE MUCKADELL, Denmark – Frank SCHMITZ, Germany – Arthur SHULKES, Australia – Donald F. STEINER, USA – Eero VASAR, Estonia – Helge WALDUM, Norway – Timothy Cragin WANG, USA

Synopsis: Multicellular organisms require coordination of their functions via messenger molecules. Peptide hormones constitute such a group of messengers, which have governed animal function and behavior through at least 600 million years of evolution. It is, however, only a hundred years ago since the first peptide hormones were discovered, among them gastrin. Gastrin has later been shown to be structurally and functionally closely related to the intestinal hormone, cholecystokinin (CCK). And phylogenetic evidence today indicates that gastrin and CCK have evolved from a single ancestor.

Until the nineteen-seventies, gastrin and CCK were conceived as simple gastrointestinal hormones that regulated gastric acid secretion, gallbladder contractions and pancreatic enzyme secretion. But in the wake of modern cell and molecular biology, the last decades have changed the picture entirely: The gastrin and CCK genes are expressed in a multitude of organs also outside the gut; the biogenesis is elaborate and the prohormones processed in highly complex manners to release several different bioactive peptide in a tissue and cell-specific manner; the peptides are secreted to blood, synaptic clefts, or locally. Accordingly the peptides act not only as hormones, but also as neurotransmitters and growth factors. Finally, in addition to malfunctions of the upper digestive tract, the gastrin and CCK systems are also involved in major cancers and malignancies all over the body, in neuropsychriatic diseases (anxiety and eating disorders), and in diabetes mellitus and other endocrine diseases.
Scientific program (pdf)

Abstracts (pdf)