Evidence for a role of the gastric, coeliac and hepatic branches in vagally stimulated insulin secretion in the rat

J Auton Nerv Syst. 1983 Feb;7(2):97-110. doi: 10.1016/0165-1838(83)90039-5.


Either the left or right cervical vagus was electrically stimulated in anesthetized rats before and after selective transection of either the coeliac, gastric and hepatic abdominal branches in order to evaluate the contribution of these branches to vagal controlled insulin secretion. Changes of insulin secretion were estimated on the basis of insulin concentration in venous plasma, sampled by indwelling jugular catheters. Plasma glucose concentration in overnight food-deprived rats was clamped between 130 and 160 mg/dl by means of continuous i.v. glucose infusion, and surgical stress-induced sympathetic activity was blocked by concomitant i.v. infusion of phentolamine and propranolol. Before transection of any abdominal branch, both right and left cervical vagal stimulation induced a 3- to 4-fold increase of plasma insulin concentration and significant increases of plasma glucose concentration, while the heart rate decreased rapidly and significantly. The right cervical vagal stimulation-induced insulin response (integrated incremental area) was significantly decreased by either bilateral coeliac (-37%) or bilateral gastric (-57%), but not by hepatic (-5%) vagotomy. The left cervical vagal stimulation-induced insulin response was significantly decreased (-41%) by hepatic vagotomy. The concomitant rises of plasma glucose concentration may have contributed more than 50% to the vagal stimulation-induced insulin responses. However, calculating the purely neural components revealed that the right cervical vagal stimulation-induced insulin response was still decreased by coeliac (-48%) or gastric (-84%) and not decreased (+24%) by hepatic vagotomy, and the left cervical vagal stimulation-induced insulin response was decreased (-52%) by hepatic branch vagotomy. We conclude that cervical vagal stimulation-induced insulin-secreting activity reaches the pancreas via all 3 abdominal divisions of the vagus nerve, and suggest that pancreatic beta-cells are innervated through all 3 abdominal divisions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Ganglia, Sympathetic / physiology*
  • Heart Rate
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Islets of Langerhans / innervation*
  • Liver / innervation*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Stomach / innervation*
  • Vagus Nerve / physiology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin