Pancreastatin is a 49 amino acid peptide first isolated, purified and characterized from the porcine pancreas, and whose biological activity in different tissues can be assigned to the C-terminal part of the molecule. Pancreastatin has a prohormonal precursor, chromogranin A (CGA), which is a glycoprotein present in neuroendocrine cells, including the endocrine pancreas. Both intracellular and extracellular processing of CGA can yield pancreastatin. This processing is tissue-specific, with the pancreatic islet and antral gastric endocrine cells being the major source of fully processed pancreastatin. Most of the circulating CGA is secreted by chromaffin tissue. Therefore, peripheral processing of CGA is probably the major indirect source of pancreastatin. Pancreastatin seems to have a general modulatory control on endocrine (insulin, glucagon, parathormone) and exocrine (pancreatic, gastric) secretion from tissues close to the source of production. This has led to the assumption that pancreastatin may be a peptide with an autocrine and paracrine function. It has recently been revealed to be a peptide with a metabolic function counter-regulatory to insulin action. This effect, in conjunction with the inhibitory effect on insulin and pancreatic exocrine secretion, points to a role in the physiology of stress. The molecular mechanism of the glycogenolytic effect of pancreastatin is better known, although further work is still needed. In general, more studies should be carried out at the molecular level to investigate the mechanism of action of pancreastatin and thus to clarify its physiological role in the neuroendocrine system.
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