Background & aims: Secretions from the exocrine and endocrine pancreas may modulate interdigestive motility. To test this hypothesis in humans, we investigated interdigestive cycling in patients with chronic pancreatitis (CP) as a model of impaired pancreatic function.
Methods: Antroduodenal motility, pancreatic enzyme output, and pancreatic polypeptide release were monitored for two consecutive interdigestive cycles in 13 controls and 9 patients with CP.
Results: Interdigestive enzyme output was severely impaired in patients with CP (> 80% decrease); however, secretory cycling was still evident in most patients. All parameters describing interdigestive motility were similar in controls and patients with CP (duration of the migrating motor complex [MMC] was 107 +/- 19 minutes in patients with CP vs. 114 +/- 15 minutes in controls). The time between cyclic peaks of enzyme secretion (76 +/- 4 minutes vs. 101 +/- 4 minutes in controls) and pancreatic polypeptide (63 +/- 4 minutes vs. 106 +/- 7 minutes in controls) was shortened in patients with CP, and peaks were no longer temporally related to the MMC. Only 56% of phase III activity fronts were associated with a concomitant secretory peak in patients with CP compared with 92% in healthy subjects.
Conclusions: CP not only decreases pancreatic secretion but interrupts the coordination among interdigestive cyclic phenomena. Our findings in several animal and human models refute the concept that pancreatic mechanisms exert a major regulatory influence on interdigestive motor activity.