Reperfusion of ischaemic intestine is characterised by an initial hyperaemia with ensuing mucosal repair. This study investigated possible roles for gut vasoactive neuropeptides and trophic peptides in these phenomena. Groups of rats were monitored during superior mesenteric artery occlusion for five or 20 minutes, with or without subsequent reperfusion for five minutes. Peptide concentrations (fmol/ml) in arterial blood, were measured using specific radioimmunoassays. Intestinal ischaemia alone did not cause haemodynamic disturbance or peptide release. Reperfusion, after five minutes of ischaemia, resulted in arterial hypotension and a rise in plasma vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (mean (SEM)) (37 (3), control 11 (4), p < 0.001). After 20 minutes of ischaemia, reperfusion resulted in greater hypotension (p < 0.05) and release of both vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (31 (3), p < 0.05 v control) and the more potent vasodilator beta-calcitonin gene related peptide (49 (3), control 23 (1), p < 0.001). By contrast, the vasodilators alpha-calcitonin gene related peptide and substance P and the vasoconstrictors neuropeptide Y, peptide YY, and somatostatin were not released. Bombesin, a stimulatory neuropeptide, was released after 20 minutes of ischaemia/reperfusion (13 (2), control 7 (3), p < 0.05). Plasma enteroglucagon rose from control (51 (4)) to 110 (16) (p < 0.001) and to 158 (27) (p < 0.005) after five and 20 minutes of ischaemia/reperfusion. The potent enteric vasodilators vasoactive intestinal polypeptide and beta-calcitonin gene related peptide, unopposed by vasoconstrictors, may promote post-ischaemic intestinal hyperaemia. The rise in plasma enteroglucagon may point to diffuse mucosal injury and is consistent with the putative trophic role of this peptide.
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