Mechanism of action of pentagastrin on the lower esophageal sphincter.
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The effects of pentagastrin on lower esophageal sphincter (LES) pressure has been studied in trained, unanesthetized dogs. LES pressure was monitored by an infusion manometric technique. Increasing doses of pentagastrin up to 3 mug/kg given as an i.v. bolus resulted in increasing rises in LES pressure; larger doses resulted in a lesser effect of shorter duration. Increasing i.v. boluses of methacholine produced greater increases in LES pressure up to a maximum of 5 mug/kg; higher doses had similar effects. Atropine (50-100 mug/kg) slightly diminished the response of the LES to 2 or 6 mug/kg of pentagastrin. In large doses (500-2,000 mug/kg), atropine did not diminish the response to pentagastrin and prolonged the response of 6 mug/kg pentagastrin. Hexamethonium (2 mg/kg i.v.) depressed the peak response to 3 mug/kg pentagastrin slightly but the response to 6 mug/kg was increased and prolonged. Propranolol (2 mg/kg i.v.) significantly prolonged the effect of 6 mug/kg pentagastrin on the LES. We conclude that the stimulatory effect of pentagastrin is mainly due to a direct action on the LES. A lesser stimulatory effect is due to an action on preganglionic cholinergic neurons. Large doses of pentagastrin have both stimulatory and inhibitory effects. The inhibitory effect is mediated at least in part via preganglionic neurons acting through adrenergic receptors. Ganglionic transmission of the effect may be through muscarinic as well as nicotinic receptors.
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