Pancreatic polypeptide (P.P.) is a potent hormonal peptide which has been isolated from the pancreas. Its role in human physiology and pathology is not yet established. After a standard hospital lunch the plasma concentration of P.P. showed a rapid and identical rise in 10 healthy controls, 11 duodenal-ulcer patients, and 6 post-vagotomy patients but remained undetectable in 4 totally pancreatectomised subjects. In contrast plasma-P.P. was unaffected by intravenous administration of glucose, aminoacids, or fat. However, during intravenous infusion of cærulein, a cholecystokinin analogue, P.P. rose by nearly five-fold, and an even greater rise was seen after intravenous injection of Boots secretin. In 19 duodenal-ulcer patients insulin hypoglycæmia produced a rapid rise in plasma-P.P. but this did not occur in any of the 17 patients studied after a truncal vagotomy. Thus P.P. is released by oral but not intravenous nutriments and the existence of an entero-P.P. axis is postulated. One component of this axis may be the vagal innervation but the normal postprandial rise seen after vagotomy suggests that other control mechanisms, such as the intestinal hormones, are more important.
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