First published June 1, 1987 - More info
The present study was designed to determine whether somatostatin is released into the circulation in sufficient amounts to regulate exocrine and endocrine pancreatic function and to evaluate the possible role of somatostatin as a hormonal regulator of the pancreas. Mean plasma somatostatin levels (SLI) increased from 11 +/- 2 pmol liter-1 to peak concentrations of 18 +/- 2 in six healthy male volunteers after a steak meal (P less than 0.05). Infusion of somatostatin inhibited hormone-induced exocrine pancreatic secretion and suppressed cerulein-stimulated pancreatic polypeptide (PP) secretion, but did not significantly change arginine-stimulated insulin and glucagon release at mean plasma somatostatin concentrations within the range seen after a meal. The amount of somatostatin released after a meal thus was of sufficient magnitude to inhibit exocrine pancreatic function and PP release. On the other hand, basal and arginine-stimulated glucagon and insulin secretions were not significantly affected by these plasma concentrations of intravenous somatostatin suggesting that the exocrine pancreas might be more sensitive to somatostatin than the islet cells. We conclude that somatostatin in concentrations within the range seen after a meal is a potent inhibitor of stimulated acinar cell function in man. The findings support the hypothesis that somatostatin acts as a true hormonal regulator.