The contraction of the gallbladder by ultrasonography and release of cholecystokinin (CCK) by specific radioimmunoassay in response to the ingestion of oral fatty meal before and 1 month after gastrectomy in five patients with early gastric cancer was studied. Before gastrectomy, basal concentrations of CCK (13.4 +/- 2.3 pmol/L) rose significantly to a maximum of 23.3 +/- 3.6 pmol/L at 20 minutes after ingestion of oral fatty meal, and remained significantly elevated during the study. Gallbladder contraction began as CCK concentrations rose, demonstrating significant correlation with plasma CCK. One month after gastrectomy, CCK showed a rapid and greater response to the ingestion of fatty meal, attaining a maximum of 53.7 +/- 7.3 pmol/L at 10 minutes, then gradually falling to basal level. The maximal contraction of the gallbladder after gastrectomy was almost the same as before gastrectomy (62.7 +/- 4.0% of original area), showing a significant correlation with plasma CCK, but refilling of the gallbladder was induced earlier with corresponding reduction of plasma CCK. Simultaneous measurement of plasma concentrations of pancreatic polypeptide revealed a fairly similar response to plasma CCK before and after gastrectomy. The release of CCK is the chief mechanism by which the ingestion of a fatty meal causes contraction of the gallbladder even after gastrectomy as well as before gastrectomy
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