The effect of transient proximal gastric distention was studied in six conscious dogs previously submitted to antrectomy and Billroth I anastomosis (and in which the intragastric pH was not altered), and in five anaesthetised dogs prepared with an innervated acute fundic pouch in which the pouch lumen was acidified with 0.15 M hydrochloric acid. Levels of vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) in portal and peripheral plasma were measured by radioimmunoassay. In conscious antrectomised dogs, distention of the proximal stomach to volumes of 250 and 500 ml evoked a significant rise of portal VIP concentration, with a maximal variation of 32.7 +/- 4.4 to 67.7 +/- 14.8 pg ml-1, which was hardly reflected in systemic blood. In the anaesthetised dogs, transient distention of the acute fundic pouch with 0.15 M hydrochloric acid under a pressure of 40 cm of water elicited a significant rise of portal VIP from 36.2 +/- 8.9 to 59.8 +/- 12.4 pg ml-1 (P < 0.05) without any significant variation of the peptide concentration in peripheral plasma. These results indicate that vasoactive intestinal peptide is released under transient proximal gastric distention in dogs, and that this response is not solely dependent upon the acid secretory effect of distention in this species.
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