Colonic motor response to a meal in acute colitis

Ashwani K. Sethi, Sushil K. Sarna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The symptoms of urgency, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort are exaggerated after a meal in inflammatory disorders of the colon, such as ulcerative colitis. The possible motor correlates of these symptoms were investigated in a model of acute colitis in six dogs. Each dog was instrumented with seven strain gauge transducers, two on the proximal, three on the middle, and two on the distal colon. After an overnight fast, 4-hour fasted recordings were made from the normal colon and after the colon had been cleansed on the previous day with Colyte (Reed & Carnrick, Piscataway, NJ). A 1300-kcal meal was then fed, and the recordings were continued for another 8 hours. Acute colitis was then induced by the perfusion of 10 mL of 75% acetic acid and confirmed with colonoscopy and biopsy. The fasted and postprandial recordings were repeated during the next 5 days. In the control state, ingestion of the meal increased the total duration per hour of contractile activity in the early (0-2 hours) and late (2-8 hours) postprandial periods in the distal colon. In the proximal and the middle colon, a significant increase in motor activity occurred only during the late postprandial period. Similar effects were observed in the cleansed colon. By contrast, there was no significant increase in motor activity after a meal during colitis in any of the postprandial periods in the cleansed or the uncleansed colon. During colitis, there was a significant increase in the incidence of giant migrating contractions in the fasted state. The ingestion of a meal further increased the frequency of giant migrating contractions in the uncleansed colon from 0.4 ± 0.1 to 1.3 ± 0.5 per hour in the late postprandial period. There was no significant increase during the early postprandial period. The increase in the late postprandial frequency of giant migrating contractions was associated with an increase in defecation frequency. It is concluded that the motor response of the colon to a meal is absent in acute colitis. The entry of new ingesta into the colon during the late postprandial period stimulates enteric mechanisms to initiate an excessive number of giant migrating contractions. These giant migrating contractions may be related to increased postprandial abdominal discomfort and increased frequency of defecation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1537-1546
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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