The effects of somatostatin on oral glucose tolerance and on intestinal absorption of glucose and other nutrients have been studied in anaesthetised rats. Intravenous somatostatin (0.1-0.6 nmol/min) increased the rate of gastric emptying. After intraduodenal administration of glucose, the rise in peripheral plasma levels of the sugar was delayed, but finally exaggerated by somatostatin, which inhibited the insulin response. Absorption was evaluated by measuring the disappearance of radioactive nutrients from the lumen of a 'tied duodenojejunal loop'. At a luminal concentration of 4 mmol/l of 3-0-methylglucose, neither disappearance of the sugar from the lumen nor its appearance in plasma was affected by somatostatin. Passive transport of 3-0-methylglucose (100 mmol/l) was not significantly modified by somatostatin, although the appearance of the labelled tracer in plasma was delayed. Somatostatin had no significant effect on absorption of galactose (4 mmol/l), sucrose (40 mmol/l), leucine (4 mmol/l) or palmitate (0.1 and 0.4 mmol/l). These results show that somatostatin delays appearance of ingested sugars in peripheral plasma without direct effect on the absorption sites; this delay may result from changes in intestinal motility, enzyme secretion and splanchnic blood flow.
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