The present work aims at investigating the changes in motor responsiveness of rat intestine hypertrophied by chronic mechanical obstruction. Motor responses to pharmacological agents and electrical field stimulation (EFS) were studied in hypertrophic ileal segments excised from rats subjected to experimental stenosis (n = 20) and compared with responses of control tissues from sham-operated animals (n = 20). Spontaneous motility and contractile responses to exogenous agents (KCI, acetylcholine and substance P) and EFS (10-s trains every minute, 120 mA, 0.5 ms, 1-10 Hz) were increased in hypertrophic longitudinal segments; however, normalization of motor responses to tissue wet weight revealed a remarkable reduction of contractile efficiency in hypertrophied tissues coupled with a loss of sensitivity to nitric oxide-mediated relaxation. Furthermore, EFS under non-adrenergic non-cholinergic (NANC) conditions unveiled a major role of the cholinergic component over the peptidergic one in the neurogenic contraction of hypertrophic intestine. On the whole, hypertrophic intestinal growth emerges as a dynamic process entailing adaptation of smooth muscle and neuronal structures to the increased functional load imposed by lumen obstruction.
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