The effect of estradiol (E2) on amylase content and on basal and stimulated amylase release from the pancreatic acini was examined in relation to its effects on cholecystokinin (CCK)-receptor (R) levels. Guinea pigs were ovariectomized (OVX) and a week later administered either E2 (10 μg/kg) (Treated, T) or vehicle (corn oil) (Control, C) 0.2 ml/day s.c. After 7 days of injections, animals were killed, pancreata weighed and basal and stimulated amylase release from pancreatic acini measured. Receptors for CCK were measured on pancreatic membranes. Chronic administration of E2 resulted in a significant decrease in: (1) pancreatic weight (0.96 ± 0.04, T vs 1.142 ± 0.046 g, C); (2) total pancreatic DNA content (5.74 ± 0.37, T vs 6.81 ± 0.16 mgs, C); (3) total amylase content in pancreata (2081 ± 307, T vs 3795 ± 442 I.U., C); (4) absolute value of basal amylase release (6.57 ± 1.4, T vs 11.8 ± 1.9 I.U./incubate, C); and (5) absolute value of amylase release stimulated by increasing doses (0.01-1000 nM) of CCK in T vs C animals. On the other hand, the amylase release in response to >0.5 nM of CCK, expressed as a percentage of the total amylase content, was significantly increased in T vs C animals, which may be related to a significant rise in the concentration (fmol/mg protein) of CCK-receptors (629.8 ± 65.9, T vs 313.4 ± 92.7 fmol, C). Concentration of DNA/unit pancreatic weight and basal amylase release expressed as a percentage of total content, however, was similar in the C and T guinea pigs, while concentration of amylase and CCK-receptors/unit pancreatic weight remained significantly different in the two groups of animals. These results suggest that E2 may have more than one effect on the pancreas in vivo, including a significant reduction in pancreatic growth and amylase concentration/cell and an up-regulation of CCK-receptors/cell.
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