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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2007 Feb;292(2):R666-78. Epub 2006 Oct 19.

How does cholecystokinin stimulate exocrine pancreatic secretion? From birds, rodents, to humans.

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Institute of Cell Biology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China.


The field of cholecystokinin (CCK) stimulation of exocrine pancreatic secretion has experienced major changes in the recent past. This review attempts to summarize the present status of the field. CCK production in the intestinal I cells, the molecular forms of CCK produced and subsequently circulated in the blood, the presence or absence of CCK receptors on the isolated pancreatic acinar cells and the associated signaling for acinar cell secretion, and the actual circuits and sites of action for CCK regulation of exocrine pancreatic secretion in vivo are reviewed in different animal species with an emphasis on birds, rodents, and humans. Clear differences in the relative importance of neural and direct modes of CCK action on pancreatic acinar cells were identified. Rodents seem to be endowed with both modes of action, whereas in humans the neural mode may predominate. In birds, such as duck, the direct mode needs further assistance from pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide/VIP receptors. However, much further work needs to be directed to the neural mode to map out all sites of CCK action and details of the full circuits, and we foresee a major revival for this field of research in the near future.

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