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This review was prompted by the unexpected experimental finding in canines that Tissucol-induced pancreatic ductal blockade elicits Pancreatic Polypeptide (PP) release and seems to be at the basis of the beneficial effects on taurocholate-induced acute pancreatitis (AP). In the release mechanism of this regulatory peptide secreted by PP cells located in the periphery of Langerhans islets and scattered in the ductal epithelium, two neuroendocrine reflexes (NER) are involved. The "short" NER is evoked from the duodenum by an unknown component of bile-pancreatic secretion. The "long" NER is triggered by a vagovagal reflex. PP induces a depression of the intrapancreatic cholinergic tone. On the one hand suppressing, hormonally, nervous impulses discharge from the vagal nuclear complex in the brainstem. On the other, interfering paracrinically on the cholinergic transmission by acting, presynaptically, on post-ganglionic cholinergic neurons. The resulting PP-evoked fall of the intrapancreatic cholinergic tone depresses the hormone induced (secretin, CCK) pancreon’s secretory response. PP, with other agents, contributes to the "fail-safe" system or pancreon's brake that prevents, in pancreocytes, the evolving of a "supramaximal-ecbolic-stimulation" process. The PP involvement as a modulating agent of pancreon’s reactivity is reflected by the progressive increment of its plasma values in the first week of an evolving AP episode. In the AP associated to a large meal, an overpowering of the "pancreon’s brake might have a pivotal role. In experimental and clinical chronic alcoholism, a vagal neuropathy of the Pavlov inhibitory fibers that, as a consequence, impairs the pancreon’s brake through a depression of PP secretion is at the basis of an enhanced reactivity of the duodeno-pancreatic reflexes. The latter leads to intrapancreatic cholinergic hypertonus and to Vater papilla’s dysfunction. These changes, plus an enhanced pancreocyte's response to CCK, are at the core of acinar cell "supramaximal stimulation" with the organelle disruption that process implies. The intrapancreatic cholinergic hypertonus, the enhanced exocrine cell reactivity to CCK stimulation, and the augmented resistance to the pancreatic secretion flow at Oddi sphincter, explain the aggravating influence of chronic alcoholism on an episode of acute biliary pancreatitis. As the PP secretion, normally elicited by secretin, CCK, food and insulin hypoglycemia, is depressed in the presence of an augmented number of PP cells, as it is in the cases of chronic alcoholics, cystic fibrosis patients and, also, in dogs with pancreatic fibrosis (ductal ligation), it has been inferred, besides our postulated impairment of the Pavlov inhibitory fibers in the vagus nerves, that the defect of PP release is localized to the common final pathway of the above stimuli, probably in or near the PP cell itself. © 2015, Sociedad Argentina de Gastroenterologia. All rights reserved. Source

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