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Phys Biol. 2010 Feb 10;7(1):16011. doi: 10.1088/1478-3975/7/1/016011.

On the electrical intestine turbulence induced by temperature changes.

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Nonlinear Physics and Mathematical Modeling Lab, Engineering Faculty, University Campus Bio-Medico, I-00128 Rome, Italy.


Paralytic ileus is a temporary syndrome with impairment of peristalsis and no passage of food through the intestine. Although improvements in supportive measures have been achieved, no therapy useful to specifically reduce or eliminate the motility disorder underlying postoperative ileus has been developed yet. In this paper, we draw a plausible, physiologically fine-tuned scenario, which explains a possible cause of paralytic ileus. To this aim we extend the existing 1D intestinal electrophysiological Aliev-Richards-Wikswo ionic model based on a double-layered structure in two and three dimensions. Thermal coupling is introduced here to study the influence of temperature gradients on intestine tissue which is an important external factor during surgery. Numerical simulations present electrical spiral waves similar to those experimentally observed already in the heart, brain and many other excitable tissues. This fact seems to suggest that such peculiar patterns, here electrically and thermally induced, may play an important role in clinically experienced disorders of the intestine, then requiring future experimental analyses in the search for possible implications for medical and physiological practice and bioengineering.

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