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Pancreatology. 2001;1(4):320-35.

Neural hormonal regulation of exocrine pancreatic secretion.

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Rochester Institute for Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 222 Alexander Street, Suite 3100, Rochester, NY 14607, USA.


Exocrine pancreatic secretion is regulated by hormone-hormonal and neural-hormonal interactions involving several regulatory peptides and neurotransmitter from the gut, the pancreas and the vagus nerve. The roles of the gastrointestinal peptides including secretin, CCK, neurotensin, motilin, PYY and pancreatic islet hormones including insulin, pancreatic polypeptide and somatostatin have been established. Interactions among secretin, CCK and neurotensin produce synergistic stimulatory effect. Motilin modulates the cyclic pattern of pancreatic secretion while local insulin provides a permissive role for the action of secretin and CCK at physiological concentration. Somatostatin, PYY and pancreatic polypeptide are inhibitory regulators, acting either on the release of secretin and CCK or on the action of the two stimulatory hormones. The vagal afferent-efferent pathway mediates the actions of many of these regulatory peptides, particularly of secretin and CCK. Acetylcholine and nitric oxide are the neurotransmitters known to mediate the actions of secretin and CCK. Serotonin (5-HT) released from enterochromaffin cells in the intestinal mucosa and nerve terminals of the enteric nervous system and intrapancreatic nerves may be involved in both stimulatory and inhibitory mechanism through its various receptor subtypes. 5-HT also mediates the action of secretin and CCK. The regulatory roles of neuropeptides, PACP and GRP, are now established, whereas those of others are being uncovered. Pancreatic juice provides both positive and negative feedback regulation of pancreatic secretion through mediation of both secretin- and CCK-releasing peptides. Three CCK-releasing peptides have been purified: monitor peptide from pancreatic juice, diazepam-binding inhibitor from porcine intestine, and luminal CCK-releasing factor from rat intestinal secretion. All have been shown to stimulate CCK release and pancreatic enzyme secretion. Pancreatic phospholipase A2 from pancreatic juice and intestinal secretion appears to function as a secretin-releasing peptide. However, the detailed map of neurohormonal regulatory pathways of exocrine pancreatic secretion is yet to be constructed.

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