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Am J Vet Res. 1982 Mar;43(3):390-6.

Retropulsion-propulsion in equine large colon.


The circular and longitudinal muscle coats of equine "midcolon" were found to be directly electrically coupled. They appear to act in concert, in healthy animals, as a pacemaker in the area of the large colon pelvic flexure, for retropulsive-propulsive myoelectrical events. The retropulsive events keep the cecum and right ventral and left ventral divisions of the colon filled, imposing a delay time for fermentation of cellulose and for bacterial protein synthesis. Point-to-point involvement of adjacent colon sections was slowed by cooling the intestinal contents with no adverse clinical signs. Diminution of the blood flow to this regulatory area was achieved in 12 weanling foals (raised parasite-free) by parasitic cranial mesenteric arteritis, using Strongylus vulgaris larvae. Four of the 12 developed clinical signs of abdominal pain, but on necropsy 3 of these 4 had no gross lesions in the gastrointestinal tract. Dissociation of the left ventral and left dorsal colon divisions, as regards intraluminal pressure events and their antecedent myoelectrical action potentials, was induced in 7 of 8 adult animals given an acaricide which under field conditions is associated with progressive large colon obstruction and colic.

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