The gastrointestinal hormone, gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP), has been isolated and characterized because of its enterogastrone-type effects. It is also named glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide and is actually considered to be the main incretin factor of the entero-insular axis. Besides these well-described effects on gastric secretion and pancreatic β cells, it also has direct metabolic effects on other tissues and organs, such as adipose tissue, liver, muscle, gastrointestinal tract and brain. In adipose tissue it is involved in the activation and regulation of lipoprotein lipase (LPL); it also inhibits glucagon-induced lipolysis and potentiates the effect of insulin on incorporation of fatty acids into triglycerides. It may play a role in the development of obesity because of the hypersensitivity of adipose tissue of obese animals to some of these actions. In the liver it does not modify insulin extraction, and its incretin effects are due only to the stimulation of insulin secretion and synthesis. It reduces hepatic glucose output and inhibits glucagon-stimulated glycogenolysis. It might increase glucose utilization in peripheral tissues such as muscle. GIP also has an effect on the volume and/or electrolyte composition of intestinal secretion and saliva. The functional importance of its effect on the hormones of the anterior pituitary lobe remains to be established, as it has never been detected in the brain.
Its links with insulin are very close and the presence of insulin is sometimes necessary for the greater efficiency of both hormones. GIP can be considered as a true metabolic hormone, with most of its functions tending to increase anabolism.