Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), originally isolated from hog small intestinal mucosa, has been shown to cause small intestinal secretion. More recently, this peptide has been identified in the plasma and tumors of patients with the so-called “pancreatic cholera” syndrome. In order to explore the possible role of VIP in the pathogenesis of this syndrome, we examined the effects of this peptide and other hormones on the cyclic AMP levels, adenylate cyclase activity, and ion transport in in vitro preparations of ileal mucosa. In rabbit ileal mucosa, VIP (20 μg/ml) caused a prompt fivefold increase in cyclic AMP level, whereas nine other hormones, which have been postulated to cause intestinal secretion, failed to exert such an effect. Pentagastrin and glucagon also failed to increase cyclic AMP levels in canine ileal mucosa. An increase in mucosal cyclic AMP levels was observed at a VIP concentration of 0.1 μg/ml and appeared to be nearly maximal at 2.0 μg/ml. VIP (100 μg/ml) stimulated adenylate cyclase activity in a membrane preparation from rabbit ileal mucosa. Secretin (6.0 × 10-5 M) failed to do so. When added to the serosal side of isolated rabbit ileal mucosa clamped in an Ussing chamber, VIP (2 μg/ml) increased short-circuit current (SCC) and caused net secretion of both Cl and Na. Net Cl secretion exceeded net Na secretion. These effects of VIP on mucosal cyclic AMP metabolism and ion transport are similar to those observed with cholera enterotoxin and certain prostaglandins. VIP was also tested with normal human ileal mucosa. At a concentration of 2 μg/ml it caused a fivefold increase in cyclic AMP level and an increase in SCC of the same magnitude as that caused by 5 mM theophylline. Addition of a second 2-μg/ml dose of VIP and addition of theophylline after VIP produced no further change in SCC. We conclude the VIP stimulates adenylate cyclase and active ion secretion in both rabbit and human ileal mucosa. This may be related to the pathogenesis of diarrhea in patients with the pancreatic cholera syndrome.


Charles J. Schwartz, Daniel V. Kimberg, Harland E. Sheerin, Michael Field, Sami I. Said


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