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Exp Physiol. 1997 Jul;82(4):729-47.

An investigation into the relative merits of pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP-27) and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide as vagal neuro-transmitters in exocrine pancreas of rats.

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  • 1Institute of Physiology, University of Glasgow, UK.


Pancreatic exocrine secretions were collected over 15 min periods and analysed in terms of weight of juice, total HCO3- and total protein in anaesthetized and pithed rats. Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) (i.v.) evoked a serous HCO3- secretion which contained relatively little protein, together with a marked vasodepressor action. The latter was still maximal at lower doses of PACAP, which evoked diminished pancreatic secretions. The effects of PACAP were similar to those evoked by the same dose of VIP and by cervical vagal stimulation, while secretion evoked a much larger secretion of fluid and HCO3-. The time courses of the PACAP-evoked secretions were significantly delayed compared with those of VIP. In the pithed rat, PACAP caused the same level of pancreatic secretions as in the anaesthetized rat, though this was now accompanied by a substantial pressor response which was blocked by phentolamine or prazosin, indicating that it was alpha 1-adrenoceptor mediated. VIP caused a depressor response in the pithed rat, as well as the same level of pancreatic secretions as in the anaesthetized rat. The putative VIP antagonist [Lys1,Pro25,Arg3,4,Tyr6]-VIP (abbreviated as VIPi) caused a selective and significant reduction in the HCO3- secretion evoked by VIP and blocked the vasodepressor response caused by VIP. By contrast, VIPi did not antagonize either the secretory or vasodepressor actions of PACAP. Unilateral electrical stimulation of the cervical vagus nerve evoked significant increases in the weight of juice, total protein and total HCO3- secreted. When preceded by injection of VIPi, vagally evoked secretions were unchanged in terms of weight of juice and total protein but had a significantly reduced HCO3- content. These results are consistent with the release of VIP, though not PACAP, as a vagal neurotransmitter in the exocrine pancreas.

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