Background Fats cause reflux symptoms in many patients and cholecystokinin (CCK) may play a role. This study was designed to evaluate the effects of intraduodenal nutrient infusion on serum CCK levels, lower esophageal sphincter (LES) pressure, and gastroesophageal reflux (GER).
Methods Twenty-four asymptomatic volunteers were studied. A Dent sleeve catheter assessed LES function while an impedance-pH catheter measured reflux events. Participants were randomized to fat (F), carbohydrate (C) or protein (P) infusion. Serum CCK and LES pressures were measured at baseline and after nutrient infusion.
Key Results Baseline LES pressures and CCK levels were similar in all three groups. A significant linear decrease was found in LES pressure during F, but not C or P, infusion (P = 0.004). A significant interaction effect was noted between the infusion groups and CCK levels (P = 0.002). A significant linear increase was noted in CCK levels during F but not during C or P infusion (P = 0.02). A significant inverse correlation was found between CCK levels and LES pressure (ρ = −0.43; P = 0.04). Esophageal acid exposure was significantly increased in the F infusion group (median; interquartile range: 1.10%; 0.25–4.7%) compared to both the C (0.03%; 0.00–0.39%) and P infusion (0.03%; 0.00–0.39%) groups (P = 0.04).
Conclusions & Inferences Intraduodenal F infusion was associated with an increase in CCK levels, while P and C were not. LES pressure decreased significantly after fat infusion and reflux events were more frequent. Fat-induced CCK release is another mechanism that contributes to GER.