Effect of atropine on plasma gastrin and somatostatin concentrations during sham feeding in man

Mark Feldman, Roger H Unger, John H. Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The purpose of these studies was to measure circulating gastrin and somatostatin concentrations during sham feeding in humans and to evaluate the effect of two doses of intravenous atropine on circulating concentrations of these peptides. Gastric acid and bicarbonate secretion and pulse rate were also measured. Sham feeding increased plasma gastrin concentrations by approximately 15 pg/ml but had no effect on plasma somatostatin-like immunoreactivity (SLI). A small dose of atropine (5 μg/kg) augmented plasma gastrin concentrations during sham feeding significantly (P < 0.01), but did not affect plasma SLI. Atropine also significantly inhibited gastric acid secretion and gastric bicarbonate secretion (by 62% and 52%, respectively), but pulse rate was not affected. A larger dose of atropine (15 μg/kg intravenously) suppressed plasma gastrin concentrations significantly compared to the smaller 5 μg/kg atropine dose (P < 0.02), so that plasma gastrin concentrations when 15 μg/kg atropine was given were not significantly different from those during the control study. 15 μg/kg atropine reduced gastric acid and bicarbonate secretion by 81% and 66%, respectively, and also increased pulse rate by 15 min-1. These studies indicate that small doses of atropine enhance vagally mediated gastrin release in humans, probably by blocking a cholinergic inhibitory pathway for gastrin release. Although the nature of this cholinergic inhibitory mechanism is unclear, we found no evidence to incriminate somatostatin. Our finding that the larger dose of atropine reduced serum gastrin concentrations compared with the smaller dose suggests that certain vagal-cholinergic pathways may facilitate gastrin release.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-352
Number of pages8
JournalRegulatory Peptides
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 28 1985


  • atropine
  • concentrations in plasma
  • gastrin
  • man
  • sham-feeding
  • somatostation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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