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Characterization of mechanosensitive splanchnic nerve afferent fibers innervating the rat stomach.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.


Splanchnic nerve fibers innervating the stomach were studied in anesthetized rats; 997 fibers in the T(9) or T(10) dorsal roots were identified by electrical stimulation of the splanchnic nerve. Thirty-one fibers responded to gastric distension. Extrapolated response thresholds ranged between 0 and 53 mmHg; seven fibers had thresholds for response > or =30 mmHg. Thermo- and/or chemosensitivity was tested in 18 of the 31 fibers. Four of twelve fibers responded to intragastric perfusion of heated saline; none of eight fibers tested responded to perfusion of cold saline. Infusion of glucose, L-arginine, or potassium oleate produced no change in resting activity. Intragastric instillation of 12% glycerol or an inflammatory soup (bradykinin 10(-5) M, PGE(2) 10(-5) M, serotonin 10(-5) M, histamine 10(-5) M, and KCl 10(-3) M) and prior heat stimulation sensitized responses to distension. The results reveal the presence of low- and high-threshold mechanosensitive fibers in the splanchnic innervation of the stomach. These fibers have the ability to sensitize, and they likely contribute to pain and altered sensations that can arise from the stomach.

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