Circulating concentrations of digestive enzymes, certain lysosomal hydrolases and protease inhibitors were measured in 19 heavy smokers and 13 non-smokers before (basal) and at 15, 30, and 60 minutes after a single intravenous injection of secretin (75 CU). In smokers, basal serum amylase and immunoreactive pancreatic elastase 2 (IRE2) concentrations were about 100% and 25% higher respectively, than in the non-smokers, whereas, no differences were observed in basal immunoreactive cationic trypsinogen (IRCT) concentrations and in acid phosphatase and beta-glucuronidase activities between the two groups. Furthermore, a single injection of secretin to cigarette smokers significantly increased serum amylase, IRCT and IRE2 by 155%, 200%, and 100%, respectively when compared with their corresponding basal levels. No such increment was observed in the non-smokers. In addition, there were no significant differences in serum trypsin or elastase inhibitory capacity or immunoreactive alpha 1-protease inhibitor and alpha 2-macroglobulin levels between smokers and non-smokers. The levels and inhibitory capacity of these protease inhibitors was also not affected by secretin injection. These data suggest that cigarette smoking enhances the responsiveness of the exocrine pancreas to a physiological stimulus such as secretin, with resultant substantial increase in the concentrations of pancreatic hydrolases in blood.
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