The effect of a 90% small bowel resection on the exocrine pancreas was investigated over a three month period in adult Wistar rats. Control animals underwent a sham-resection consisting of a transection and reanastomosis of the small intestine. After jejunoileal resection, the wet weight of a gland increased significantly (52%) from the 15th day. The parallel increase in total protein, DNA and RNA content without any modification in the ratios of pancreatic weight, protein, and RNA to DNA suggests that there is cellular hyperplasia but not hypertrophy. Small intestinal resection decreased significantly the amount of amylase when expressed per unit pancreatic weight; it reduced slightly but not significantly that of chymotrypsin, while it did not modify the amount of lipase. However, the total amount of these enzymes in the pancreas remained unaltered when compared with controls. It is concluded that a massive resection of the small bowel induces cellular hyperplasia in the rat exocrine pancreas; this could compensate that reduced level of enzymes in acinar cells.
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