BACKGROUND: To examine the effect of gastrin on spontaneous and induced pancreatic carcinogenesis in the hamster. METHODS AND RESULTS: Two sets of experiments were carried out, one involving long term hypergastrinaemia and one involving cancer induction during hypergastrinaemia. The effect of hypergastrinaemia accomplished by gastric fundectomy was studied for eight months. Neither fundectomised hamsters nor sham operated controls developed premalignant or malignant pancreatic lesions. In the fundectomy group, the mean pancreatic weight, total protein content, and DNA content was increased by 28%, 25%, and 25% respectively. No such increases were found in fundectomised animals receiving a cholecystokinin-B receptor antagonist during the last 24 days of the experiment. In the cancer induction study, the effect of fundectomy on N-nitrosobis(2-oxopropyl) amine induced pancreatic carcinogenesis was studied for three months. There were no significant differences in the incidence or [3H]-thymidine labelling index of focal pancreatic lesions between fundectomised and sham operated control animals. CONCLUSIONS: Fundectomy with chronic hypergastrinaemia induces pancreatic hypertrophy, but does not enhance N-nitrosobis (2-oxopropyl)amine induced pancreatic carcinogenesis in the hamster. The increases in growth were inhibited by a cholecystokinin-B receptor antagonist, indicating that the trophic effect of fundectomy is mediated by gastrin.
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