In this study we tested the hypothesis that peptone in the intestine stimulates the secretion of the CCK-releasing peptide (CCK-RP) which mediates CCK secretion, and examined the enteric neural circuitry responsible for CCK-RP secretion. We used a "donor-recipient" rat intestinal perfusion model to quantify the CCK-RP secreted in response to nutrient stimulation. Infusion of concentrated intestinal perfusate collected from donor rat perfused with 5% peptone caused a 62 +/- 10% increase in protein secretion and an elevation of plasma CCK levels to 6.9 +/- 1.8 pM in the recipient rat. The stimulatory effect of the intestinal washings was abolished when the donor rats were pretreated with atropine or hexamethonium but not with guanethidine or vagotomy. Mucosal application of lidocaine but not serosal application of benzalkonium chloride which ablates the myenteric neurons in the donor rats also abolished the stimulatory action of the intestinal washings. Furthermore, treatment of the donor rats with a 5HT3 antagonist and a substance P antagonist also prevented the secretion of CCK-RP. These observations suggest that peptone in the duodenum stimulates serotonin release which activates the sensory substance P neurons in the submucous plexus. Signals are then transmitted to cholinergic interneurons and to epithelial CCK-RP containing cells via cholinergic secretomotor neurons. This enteric neural circuitry which is responsible for the secretion of CCK-RP may in turn play an important role in the postprandial release of CCK
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