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J Physiol. 1988 Mar;397:513-26.

The adrenal contribution to the neuroendocrine responses to splanchnic nerve stimulation in conscious calves.

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Department of Medicine, Royal Post-graduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, London.


1. The extent to which the adrenal gland contributes to neuroendocrine responses to electrical stimulation of the peripheral end of the splanchnic nerve has been investigated in conscious calves in which the right nerve was stimulated either at 4 Hz continuously for 10 min or at 40 Hz in 1 s bursts at 10 s intervals for the same period. 2. It was confirmed that the release of neuropeptide Y (NPY) and of gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) is potentiated by stimulation in bursts at a relatively high frequency and shown that the adrenal gland made a negligible contribution to these responses. 3. There was no detectable change in the concentration of vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) in the arterial plasma but the existence of a very small but highly significant rise in the output of VIP from the adrenal provided evidence that it was released within the gland in response to splanchnic nerve stimulation. 4. The concentration of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) in the arterial and adrenal venous effluent plasma was consistently below the level of detection of the assay. 5. Splanchnic nerve stimulation resulted in an abrupt rise in the output of both free and total met5-enkephalin-like immunoreactivity from the adrenal gland which was substantially potentiated by stimulating in bursts. This pattern of stimulation also increased the proportion released in a high-molecular-weight form. 6. Stimulation in bursts significantly enhanced the output of both adrenaline and noradrenaline from the adrenal and resulted in the release of proportionately more noradrenaline. Small amounts of dopamine and DOPAC were also released during splanchnic nerve stimulation and the output of dopamine was significantly increased by stimulating in bursts. 7. Both patterns of stimulation elicited an abrupt rise in mean plasma adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) concentration, which was associated with an increase in mean adrenal cortisol output and the former effect was significantly enhanced by stimulating in bursts. 8. It is concluded that certain responses to splanchnic nerve stimulation are significantly potentiated by an intermittent high-frequency pattern of stimulation, including all those that are attributable to adrenal medullary activity, whereas others are apparently unaffected by changes in stimulus pattern.

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