The effect of sepsis on plasma levels of various gut peptides was studied in rats. Sepsis was induced by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP); control animals underwent sham operation. Sixteen hours after CLP or sham operation, portal and systemic blood was drawn, and plasma levels of gastrin, vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), secretin, peptide YY (PYY), gastrin-releäsing peptide (GRP), and substance P were determined by radioimmunoassay. Plasma levels of gastrin, VIP, PYY, and secretin were elevated in septic rats compared with nonseptic animals, with the highest levels noted in portal blood. There was no effect of sepsis on GRP or substance P levels. In other experiments, human recombinant interleukin 1α (IL-1α) or recombinant tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) was injected intraperitoneally (300 μg/kg body weight in 3 divided doses over 16 hours). There was no change in plasma levels of gut peptides after IL-1α injection. TNFα induced elevation of PYY levels in portal plasma with no change in other gut peptide levels. The results suggest that sepsis stimulates release of certain gut peptides and that TNF, but not IL-1, may be partly responsible for this response. The mechanism of the release of gut peptides and its significance in the pathophysiologic changes induced by sepsis remain to be determined.
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