To determine the role of cholinergic reflexes on pancreatic secretory response to food, we studied the effect of atropine on amylase secretion in response to the octapeptide of cholecystokinin (CCK8) and to intraintestinal oleate. Four studies were done in six healthy volunteers. The duodenal content was aspirated by a double lumen tube while synthetic secretin (41 pmol/kg/h) was infused as a background in all the studies. Graded doses of CCK8 IV or 0.42 M oleate pH 9.4 at 25 ml/h into the intestine with and without atropine 1.8 mg were given on different days. CCK-like immunoreactivity (LI) in the plasma was measured by RIA during the intraintestinal oleate studies. CCK8 stimulated pancreatic enzyme secretion in a dose related fashion, an effect that was not modified by atropine. Intraintestinal oleate also stimulated pancreatic secretion and increased the CCK-LI in the plasma. Atropine significantly (p less than 0.05) decreased the pancreatic enzyme secretion before and during intraintestinal oleate, without effect on the CCK-LI levels. We conclude: (1) that the effect of exogenous CCK on pancreatic secretion of enzymes is not affected by atropine; (2) intraintestinal oleate stimulates pancreatic enzyme secretion significantly by an atropine-sensitive mechanism; (3) probably the atropine effect is a blockade of a cholinergic enteropancreatic reflex.
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