Secretory activity of the pancreas may be stimulated by either a humoral (secretin) or a neural (vagal) mechanism. The amount and type of secretion produced by the two mechanisms has been shown to differ widely in animals. Stimulation with secretin produces a large volume of pancreatic juice rich in bicarbonate and poor in enzymes, whereas vagal stimulation produces a scant flow of juice poor in bicarbonate and rich in enzymes. Mellanby1 hypothesized that the content of enzymes in the pancreatic juice is determined by action of the vagus nerves, whereas the concentration of the bicarbonate solution in which these enzymes are contained is determined by the action of secretin. In a clinical study of pancreatic function, the response of the pancreas to both types of stimulants should be determined in order to obtain a complete picture.
In man, the effect of intravenous injection of purified secretin was first studied,
COMFORT MW, OSTERBERG AE. PANCREATIC SECRETION IN MAN AFTER STIMULATION WITH SECRETIN AND ACETYLBETAMETHYLCHOLINE CHLORIDE: A COMPARATIVE STUDY. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1940;66(3):688–706. doi:10.1001/archinte.1940.00190150159012
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