Responses of 11 gastrointestinal regulatory peptides to a standard test meal were assessed in 10 adult patients with cystic fibrosis. The basal plasma neurotensin was significantly elevated in patients with cystic fibrosis, being 31.5 ± 6.1 pmollL compared with a control value of 10.3 ± 1.5 pmol/L (p < 0.005). Plasma neurotensin remained elevated throughout the test period. Basal plasma enteroglucagon was similarly elevated, the patients with fibrocystic disease having levels of 51.3 ± 4.6 pmol/L compared to controls with levels of 33.2 ± 6.7 pmol/L (p < 0.02). There was, however, no significant difference in postprandial levels of plasma enteroglucagon. Postprandial motilin was significantly elevated in the patients with cystic fibrosis; this elevation is in contrast with previous findings in children. Release of gastric inhibitory polypeptide was impaired, while release of cholecystokinin showed no significant difference in control values, although there was a tendency for delay. There was no significant postprandial rise of pancreatic polypeptide in the patients, whose levels were grossly lower than controls. Insulin showed a delayed response. No significant differences were observed between patients and controls in levels of gastrin, pancreatic glucagon, somatostatin, or vasoactive intestinal peptide. The elevation of plasma neurotensin and enteroglucagon in the basal state may reflect an adaptive response and may be part of the improved digestive function in adults compared with children with fibrocystic disease.
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