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J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2016 Apr 30;22(2):310-20. doi: 10.5056/jnm15082.

Changes in Enteric Neurons of Small Intestine in a Rat Model of Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China.
Department of Gastroenterology, Beijing Anzhen Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.
Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, The Ohio State University, Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, USA.



Physical and/or emotional stresses are important factors in the exacerbation of symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Several lines of evidence support that a major impact of stress on the gastrointestinal tract occurs via the enteric nervous system. We aimed to evaluate histological changes in the submucosal plexus (SMP) and myenteric plexus (MP) of the distal ileum in concert with the intestinal motor function in a rat model of IBS with diarrhea.


The rat model was induced by heterotypic chronic and acute stress (CAS). The intestinal transit was measured by administering powdered carbon by gastric gavage. Double immunohistochemical fluorescence staining with whole-mount preparations of SMP and MP of enteric nervous system was used to assess changes in expression of choline acetyltransferase, vasoactive intestinal peptide, or nitric oxide synthase in relation to the pan neuronal marker, anti-Hu.


The intestinal transit ratio increased significantly from control values of 50.8% to 60.6% in the CAS group. The numbers of enteric ganglia and neurons in the SMP were increased in the CAS group. The proportions of choline acetyltransferase- and vasoactive intestinal peptide-immunoreactive neurons in the SMP were increased (82.1 ± 4.3% vs. 76.0 ± 5.0%, P = 0.021; 40.5 ± 5.9% vs 28.9 ± 3.7%, P = 0.001), while nitric oxide synthase-immunoreactive neurons in the MP were decreased compared with controls (23.3 ± 4.5% vs 32.4 ± 4.5%, P = 0.002).


These morphological changes in enteric neurons to CAS might contribute to the dysfunction in motility and secretion in IBS with diarrhea.


Diarrhea; Enteric nervous system; Gastrointestinal motility; Irritable bowel syndrome

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