Background/Aim: Because cholecystokinin and peptide YY are gut hormones with potent effects on gastrointestinal motility, we determined whether abnormalities of cholecystokinin and peptide YY exist in slow transit constipation. Methods: Plasma concentrations of these hormones before, during and after intraduodenal infusion of a liquid meal in 21 patients with slow transit constipation were compared with the results in 8 healthy controls. Results: Fasting levels of plasma cholecystokinin (3.1 ± 0.2 vs. 2.4 ± 0.2 pM; p = 0.02) were higher in patients. Basal plasma peptide YY (11.4 ± 1.4 vs. 8.9 ± 0.7 pM; p = 0.1) tended to be higher in patients. After the meal (60–90 min), incremental cholecystokinin (p < 0.05), but not peptide YY, was significantly higher in patients. During intraduodenal infusion of the meal (0–60 min), incremental plasma cholecystokinin (251 ± 20 pM·min) and peptide YY (1,146 ± 186 pM·min) in patients were almost similar to control values (262 ± 22 and 901 ± 166 pM·min). Gallbladder volumes before, during and after the meal were not different between the 2 groups. Gastric emptying of a solid meal was delayed in the majority of patients (12 of 18). Abnormalities of plasma cholecystokinin were observed only in patients with delayed gastric emptying. Conclusion: Plasma levels of cholecystokinin are elevated in the fasting state and decrease more slowly after stimulation, but maximum release in response to intestinal nutrients is not altered in patients with slow transit constipation. The abnormality seems to be confined to a subgroup of patients with delayed gastric emptying.

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