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Rectal sensitivity assessed by a reflexologic technique: further evidence for two types of mechanoreceptors.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) U-290, Saint-Louis and Saint-Lazare Hospitals, 75009 Paris, France.

Abstract

We previously showed that slow-ramp rectal distensions induce graded inhibitions of the somatic nociceptive RIII reflex recorded from the lower limb, which correlated with both distension volume and visceral sensation. In contrast, rapid phasic rectal distensions induced facilitatory or biphasic effects (i.e., facilitations followed by inhibitions) depending on the level of distension. To examine the role of mucosal and serosal rectal mechanoreceptors in these viscerosomatic interactions, we analyzed, in six healthy volunteers, the effects of both types of rectal distension on the RIII reflex after topical application of lidocaine or placebo administered in a double-blind and crossover fashion. Inhibitions of the RIII reflex induced by both slow-ramp and rapid distensions were strongly reduced after administration of lidocaine but not after placebo. In contrast, facilitations of the RIII reflex observed during the initial phase of rapid distensions were not modified after lidocaine or placebo applications. These results suggest that inhibitions, but not facilitations, of the nociceptive RIII reflex triggered by rectal distensions depend preferentially on the activation of superficial mucosal receptors. This reflexologic technique might thus represent an interesting tool for studying the role of the different rectal mechanoreceptors involved in visceral sensations.

PMID:
11005755
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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