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Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2018 Apr;30(4):e13233. doi: 10.1111/nmo.13233. Epub 2017 Oct 11.

The newborn rat gastric emptying rate is volume and not developmentally dependent.

Author information

1
Hospital das Clinicas, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil.
2
Departments of Paediatrics and Physiology, Translational Medicine Program, Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Gastric residuals are a common finding in enterally fed preterm neonates and traditionally thought to reflect immaturity-related delayed gastric emptying. Adult human data suggest that the meal volume regulate the gastric emptying rate, but early in life, this has not been adequately evaluated. The goal of this study was to study the rat postnatal changes in gastric emptying rate and the strain-induced effect on muscle contraction. We hypothesized that the stomach content volume and not developmental factors determines the newborn gastric emptying rate, via the Rho-kinase 2 (ROCK-2) pathway.

METHODS:

Gastric volume and emptying rate measurements were obtained by ultrasound at different postprandial times and the wall strain-dependent changes in muscle contraction were evaluated ex vivo.

KEY RESULTS:

The newborn rat gastric emptying rate was unrelated to postnatal age, maximal 30 min postprandial, and directly proportional to content volume. In vitro measurements showed that the agonist-induced gastric muscle contraction was directly proportional to the stomach wall strain. These changes were mediated via upregulation of ROCK-2 activity.

CONCLUSIONS & INFERENCES:

The newborn rat gastric emptying rate is not developmentally regulated, but dependent on the content volume via wall strain-induced ROCK-2 activation. Further clinical studies addressing the content volume effect on the rate of gastric emptying are warranted, to enhance feeding tolerance in preterm neonates.

KEYWORDS:

milk; rho-kinase; stomach

PMID:
29024213
DOI:
10.1111/nmo.13233

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