Effects of stimulation of the peripheral ends of the vagus nerves below the heart at 4 Hz continuously, and at 40 Hz for 1 s at 10 s intervals, have been compared in conscious calves below behavioural threshold. Neither pattern of stimulation caused any significant change in mean aortic blood pressure or heart rate but both invariably produced a substantial increase in the flow of intestinal lymph. Each form of stimulation provoked release of glucagon, insulin and pancreatic polypeptide from the pancreas and produced a small but significant rise in mean arterial plasma glucose concentration. The release of gastric inhibitory peptide‐ and bombesin‐like molecules from the gastrointestinal tract was not affected by vagal stimulation whereas release of vasoactive intestinal peptide was observed in response to both patterns of vagal stimulation. Evidence was obtained to suggest that gastrin‐like peptides are preferentially released into the bloodstream whereas cholecystokinin‐like peptides are not. Vagal stimulation releases somatostatin from the gastrointestinal tract but discontinuous stimulation seems to inhibit the release of somatostatin into the general circulation. The results that have been obtained, employing this particular protocol, suggest that the pattern of the stimulus that is applied to the vagal splanchnic innervation has relatively little effect on neuroendocrine response in this species.
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