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Dig Dis Sci. 2008 Feb;53(2):413-20. Epub 2007 Jun 12.

Spontaneous and bolus-induced motility in the chronically obstructed guinea-pig small intestine in vitro.

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  • 1Center of Excellence in Visceral Biomechanics and Pain, Aalborg Hospital, DK-9100 Aalborg, Denmark.


Partial obstruction of the small intestine results in dysmotility and morphometric changes proximal to the site of obstruction. However, our understanding of the relation between the morphometric remodeling and change in the motility pattern during chronic obstruction is sparse. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of partial chronic intestinal obstruction on motility, morphology, and collagen content proximal and distal to the site of obstruction. Twenty guinea-pigs with partial intestinal obstruction and eight sham-operated controls lived for four weeks. Spontaneous and bolus-induced motility was recorded in isolated intestinal segments proximal and distal to the site of obstruction using a perfused low-compliance pressure-measuring system in vitro. After the motility experiments, the specimens were fixed at 2 kPa luminal distension pressure and sampled for histomorphometric determination of luminal radius, layer thickness, and wall thickness. Total wall collagen was also determined. The area under the curve (AUC) of spontaneous contractions and the amplitude, frequency, and AUC for the bolus-induced motility were higher in the proximal segments of the banded animals compared to distal segments and to the intestinal segments in the control animals (P < 0.05). The radius-to-thickness ratio was lowest in the proximal segments of the obstructed animals (P < 0.01). The collagen content was three times higher proximal to the site of obstruction when compared to distal locations and to the controls (P < 0.01). The AUC at 2 ml bolus injections plotted against the radius-to-thickness ratio showed a strong association (r = 0.97 for control, and r = 0.99 for obstruction, P < 0.01). No correlation was found between the collagen content and AUC. In conclusion, partial intestinal obstruction in guinea pigs caused pronounced changes in morphology and motility. An association was found between the radius-to-thickness ratio and bolus-induced motility.

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