Although sacral nerve stimulation (SNS) has been applied for treating constipation, its parameters were adopted from SNS for fecal incontinence, its effects are limited, and mechanisms are largely unknown. We investigated the effects and mechanism of SNS with appropriate parameters on constipation in rats treated with loperamide. First, using rectal compliance as an outcome measure, an experiment was performed to derive effective SNS parameters. Then, a 7-day SNS was performed in rats with constipation induced by loperamide. Autonomic functions were assessed by spectral analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) derived from an electrocardiogram. Serum levels of pancreatic polypeptide (PP), norepinephrine (NE), and acetylcholine (ACh) in colon were assessed. 1) Acute SNS at 5 Hz, 100 μs was found effective in enhancing rectal compliance and accelerating distal colon transit (P < 0.05 vs. sham SNS). 2) The 7-day SNS normalized loperamide-induced constipation, assessed by the number, weight, and water content of fecal pellets, and accelerated the distal colon transit (29.4 ± 3.7 min with sham SNS vs. 16.4 ± 5.3 min with SNS but not gastric emptying or intestinal transit. 3) SNS significantly increased vagal activity (P = 0.035) and decreased sympathetic activity (P = 0.012), assessed by spectral analysis of HRV as well as by the serum PP. 4) SNS increased ACh in the colon tissue; atropine blocked the accelerative effect of SNS on distal colon transit. We concluded that SNS with appropriate parameters improves constipation induced by loperamide by accelerating distal colon motility, mediated via the autonomic-cholinergic function.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||American Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology|
|State||Published - Oct 31 2019|
- Heart rate variability
- Sacral nerve stimulation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)