To investigate the effect of acute elevation of plasma free fatty acids (FFA) on the secretion of splanchnic somatostatin-like immunoreactivity (SLI), the peripheral venous, pancreatic, and gastric venous effluent levels of SLI were measured in normal and chronic alloxan diabetic dogs before and after the infusion of a fat emulsion supplemented with heparin. In normal conscious dogs heparin injected during the infusion of a fat emulsion elevated FFA levels from a mean (±SE) base-line level of 0.7 ± 0.1 meq/liter to a peak value of 1.5 ± 0.1 meq/liter (P < 0.001) and plasma SLI rose from a mean (±SE) base-line value of 145 ± 7 pg/ml to a peak of 253 ± 44 pg/ml (P < 0.05). Neither the infusion of glycerol, of fat emulsion without heparin, of heparin alone nor of saline itself had an effect on either the plasma level of FFA or SLI. In another group of anesthetized dogs with surgically implanted catheters the administration of fat emulsion plus heparin was accompanied by more than a two-fold rise in the concentration of SLI in the venous effluent of the pancreas and of the gastric fundus and antrum in association with an elevation of FFA levels. In a group of conscious diabetic dogs fat emulsion plus heparin raised FFA from a mean base-line level of 1.2 ± 0.2 to 1.6 ± 0.3 meq/liter (P < 0.05) and SLI rose from a mean base-line level of 185 ± 9 pg/ml to a peak value of 310 ± 44 pg/ml (P < 0.01). Although SLI levels were significantly greater than in normal dogs at several time points after the rise in FFA, the magnitude of the increment in diabetic dogs did not differ from normal. These results demonstrate that a rise in FFA levels is a potent stimulus for SLI secretion from the pancreas and stomach and raise the possibility that FFA is an important physiological regulator of SLI secretion.
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