Atrophy of the exocrine pancreas was induced in rats by feeding a copper-deficient diet combined with penicillamine. The treatment resulted in significant decreases in the weights of pancreas and stomach but an increase in the weight of the small intestine compared with control animals receiving the same amount of food. Despite almost total destruction of acinar cells, the content of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, (VIP) and substance P in the pancreas was not different from controls but the total somatostatin increased by 258% and the glucagon content by 370%. Significant decreases (p < 0.05) in the concentrations (pmol/g) of VIP, substance P and somatostatin in the small intestine were observed but the total amount (pmol/organ) of the peptides was unchanged. Similarly, an increase (59%) in the concentration of gastric somatostatin in exocrine atrophy was not reflected in a significant difference in the total amount. The content of enteroglucagon in the small intestine was not different in the two groups suggesting that this material was not the trophic influence leading to increased intestinal weight.
- Pancreatic acinar atrophy
- Substance P
- Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide
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