Sacral nerve stimulation with appropriate parameters improves constipation in rats by enhancing colon motility mediated via the autonomic-cholinergic mechanisms

Zhihui Huang, Shiying Li, Robert D. Foreman, Jieyun Yin, Ning Dai, Jiande D.Z. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

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.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Although sacral nerve stimulation (SNS) has been applied for treating constipation, its parameters were adopted from SNS for fecal incontinence, effects are limited, and mechanisms are largely unknown. This paper shows that SNS with appropriate parameters improves constipation induced by loperamide by accelerating distal colon motility mediated via the autonomic-cholinergic function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G609-G617
JournalAmerican journal of physiology. Gastrointestinal and liver physiology
Volume317
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

Keywords

  • autonomic
  • constipation
  • heart rate variability
  • sacral nerve stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)

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