Michigan Gastrointestinal Peptide Research CenterVisit this Center



The Michigan Gastrointestinal Peptide Research Center at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is an interdisciplinary Center in which clinical and basic science investigators with a common interest in gut peptides interact with the goal of elucidating the chemistry and biology of peptide hormones as they relate to the physiology and pathology of the digestive tract.

Our Mission

While the importance of a few polypeptide hormones in regulating physiologic functions of the gastrointestinal system has been recognized for many years, recent technological advances have led to an explosion of information regarding the function of an array of newly discovered peptides. Although research in gut peptides had been a somewhat limited interest of gastroenterologists or endocrinologists in the past, the widespread distribution of these peptides and their multitude of actions have led to a broadened base of investigation that crosses traditional scientific and clinical boundaries. These peptides have been determined to function not only as classical hormones, but also as neurotransmitters, growth factors and cytokines and even intracellular signaling molecules. Many of these peptides not only play a central role in the regulation of gastrointestinal functions but they also serve as messengers to convey information about nutritional and metabolic status to the CNS and other vital endocrine organs involved in metabolism. Neuropeptides also are key mediators of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis which is stimulated by stress and plays a key role to mediate visceral pain.
Heightened awareness of the potential clinical significance of gut peptides has resulted in the identification of possible pathophysiological links between abnormalities in peptide synthesis, secretion, or action, and specific disease states. Advances in cell biology, biochemistry and molecular biology have provided tools with which the genetic or molecular basis of these links might be established. Such information may provide invaluable clues in designing the strategy for therapeutic modalities of various gastrointestinal disorders. Toward this end, we have established an interdisciplinary Center in which clinical and basic science investigators with a common interest in gut peptides interact with the goal of elucidating the chemistry and biology of peptide hormones as they relate to the physiology and pathology of the digestive tract. Thus we are applying for continuation of an existing grant for a Digestive Diseases Core Center with the following specific aims:

  • Establishment of a forum for the presentation and exchange of new research data on the subject of gastrointestinal peptides.
  • Generation of interdisciplinary collaborative projects among members of the Core Center.
  • Exploration of new frontiers in research on the chemistry and biology of gut peptides, their receptors, and intracellular signal transduction pathways.
  • Identification of specific gastrointestinal disease states which can be attributed to alterations in gut peptides.