Progressive enhancement in the secretory functions of the digestive system of the rat in the course of cold acclimation

J Physiol. 1976 Sep;260(3):629-45. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1976.sp011536.


1. The secretory function of the exocrine pancreas and the stomach have been studied in the course of cold acclimation of rats that had been fed at an ambient temperature of 1 degree C in a climatic room. 2. The secretory responses of pancreatic enzymes evoked by continuous infusion of pancreozymin (PZ, 2-5 mu./kg. hr) and a rapid single injection of PZ (1.7 mu./kg) reached a maximum in the group of rats fed at 1 degree C for 4 weeks, and fell to the control levels after 8 weeks. The increase in the flow of pancreatic juice evoked by single injection of PZ was maximal at 4 weeks and slightly decreased after 8 weeks. 3. The insulin (3-0 i.u./kg) evoked secretion of pancreatic enzymes gradually increased after cold exposure, reached a maximum at 4 weeks and fell to the control levels after 8 weeks. The flow of pancreatic juice after insulin injection was almost the same in every group throughout the course of cold exposure. 4. The ratio of amylase to the total amount of the protein in the pancreatic juice decreased abruptly, in contrast to an increase in the ratio of protease in the process of cold acclimation. The change in the ratio of enzyme activity in the pancreatic juice may reflect parallel changes in enzyme activity in the exocrine pancreas. 5. The gastric secretion in response to insulin and bile secretion in the group fed at 1 degree C for 7 weeks was significantly higher than that in the control group. 6. It was thus concluded that the secretory activities of digestive system were enhanced by prolonged cold exposure and then returned to control level, and that the activites of the pancreatic enzymes were altered in the process of cold acclimation in rats.

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization*
  • Amylases / analysis
  • Animals
  • Bile / metabolism
  • Cholecystokinin / pharmacology
  • Cold Temperature*
  • Gastric Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Pancreas / drug effects
  • Pancreas / metabolism*
  • Pancreatic Juice / enzymology
  • Pancreatic Juice / metabolism
  • Peptide Hydrolases / analysis
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Time Factors
  • Vagus Nerve / physiology


  • Insulin
  • Proteins
  • Cholecystokinin
  • Amylases
  • Peptide Hydrolases