Dissimilar trophic effects of cerulein and xenopsin on the rat pancreas

  • Gerhard E. Feurle
  • Gerd Ohnheiser
  • Christian Löser


Cholecystokinin (CCK), gastrin, cerulein, and other analogs are known to stimulate the growth of the rat pancreas. In the present study, we compared the trophic action of a member of this gastrin/CCK family, the amphibian peptide cerulein, with a member of the structurally unrelated neurotensin/ xenopsin group, the amphibian peptide xenopsin. For this purpose, 0.56 nmols/kg cerulein, 1.0 nmols/kg xenopsin, or normal saline were injected intraperitoneally three times a day in 28 rats for 3 d. Pancreatic weight, DNA, and incorporation of3H-thymidine into DNA were determined.

In another study, pancreatic weight, DNA, and the polyamines, putrescine, spermidine, and spermine, were determined after a single dose of 2.7 nmol/kg cerulein, 4.5 nmol/kg xenopsin, or saline. The polyamines were measured by reverse-phase HPLC and post-column derivatization. Cerulein increased pancreatic weight, stimulated3H-thymidine incorporation into DNA, and raised putrescine concentrations significantly, but led to a significant reduction of pancreatic DNA concentration. Xenopsin also stimulated3H-thymidine incorporation into DNA, but did not affect pancreatic weight, DNA concentration, or the polyamines during the 4 h of the experiment. These findings suggest that cerulein, in the dose and intervals applied, initiated hyperplasia and induced hypertrophy of the pancreas, whereas xenopsin only initiated hyperplasia. These results, together with the dissimilar secretory effects of the two peptide families, may be the expression of a dissimilar mode of action. However, it cannot be excluded that, since cerulein is more potent than xenopsin, the differences also are owing to dosage. We conclude that cerulein and xenopsin, which both have trophic effects on the pancreas, may act by different mechanisms.

Key Words

Cerulein xenopsin pancreas polyamines rats gastrointestinal hormones trophic factors 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerhard E. Feurle
    • 1
  • Gerd Ohnheiser
    • 2
  • Christian Löser
    • 3
  1. 1.StadtkrankenhausNeuweidWest Germany
  2. 2.Medizinische PoliklinikHeidelbergWest Germany
  3. 3.Abteilung GastroenterologieMedizinische UniversitätsklinikGöttingenWest Germany

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