Cholinergic and adrenergic control of enzyme secretion in isolated rat pancreas

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10 Citations (Scopus)


While cholinergic nervous control of pancreatic enzyme secretion is well documented, data concerning adrenergic regulation of the exocrine pancreas are contradictory. In the present study we attempted to elucidate the direct action of adrenergic stimulation on pancreatic enzyme secretion. Rat pancreatic segments were set up in an organ bath and superfused with modified Krebs-Henseleit solution. Electrical field stimulation (EFS) stimulated amylase release from the segments. This stimulation was subject to inhibition with atropine up to 80%. Atropine-resistant enzyme discharge in response to EFS could be blocked by propranolol. Cholinergic agonist urecholine-induced amylase release was completely blocked by atropine. Noradrenaline (NA) exhibited a biphasic effect on amylase release. It inhibited the urecholine-induced amylase release in lower concentrations (10-8-10-7 M), while it stimulated basal enzyme secretion in higher concentrations (10-5-10-4 M). The inhibitory effect was mimicked by phenylephrine and completely prevented by prazosin. Isoprenaline concentration dependently enhanced, while clonidine and guanfacine did not affect amylase discharge. In conclusion, in rat pancreatic acinar tissue it seems likely that acetylcholine is the main neurotransmitter. Adrenergic action can be dual, inhibitory via α1-adrenoceptors or stimulatory via β-adrenoceptors on amylase secretion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-507
Number of pages7
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 1990


  • adrenergic control
  • amylase secretion
  • cholinergic control
  • pancreas
  • rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology

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