Gastric electrical stimulation reduces visceral sensitivity to gastric distention in healthy canines
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The aim of this study was to investigate the effects and mechanisms of gastric electrical stimulation (GES) on proximal stomach distention-induced visceral sensitivity. Isobaric gastric distention was performed using a barostat system in 8 normal and 6 vagotomized dogs and animal behaviors were noted and graded. The normal dogs were studied in 4 sessions: control (no GES), short pulse GES, long pulse GES, and dual-pulse GES, and the vagotomized dogs were studied in three sessions: control (no GES), long pulse GES and guanethidine. It was found that: 1) proximal stomach distention-induced behavioral changes were mediated by vagal and sympathetic pathways. The total behavior score (TBS) was 40.6 ± 7.4 in the controls, 15.3 ± 8.9 in vagotomized dogs (P=0.006 vs. control) and 8.8 ± 0.9 in the vagotomized dogs with guanethidine (P=0.04 vs. vagotomy). The behavioral changes were mediated via the vagal pathway at distention pressures below 20 mmHg, but mediated via both the vagal and sympathetic pathways at distention pressures equal to and above 20 mmHg. 2) GES with long pulses or dual pulses but not short pulses reduced the distention-induced behavioral score (P=0.003, P=0.006 and P=0.7, respectively) and the effects of GES of long pulses might be mediated via the vagal and sympathetic pathways. In conclusion, gastric distention-induced visceral sensitivity is mediated via the vagal pathway at low distention pressures but via both vagal and sympathetic pathways at high distention pressures. GES with long but not short pulses reduces distention-induced visceral sensitivity.