We have shown recently that spinal cord injury (SCI) decreases basal gastric contractions 3 days after injury. In the present study we used the [13C]-octanoic acid breath test and gastric strain gauges with the aim to investigate the time-course of recovery from postinjury gastric stasis in rats that underwent experimental SCI at the level of the third thoracic (T3) vertebra. Following verification of the [13C]-breath test sensitivity in uninjured rats, we conducted our experiments in rats that underwent T3- spinal contusion injury (T3-CI), T3-spinal transection (T3-TX) or laminectomy (control) surgery at 3 days, 1, 3 or 6 weeks postinjury. Our data show that compared to rats that underwent laminectomy, rats that received SCI showed a significant reduction in the cumulative per cent [13C] recovery. Although more marked in T3-TX rats, the delayed gastric emptying in T3-CI and T3-TX rats was comparable in the 3 days to 3 weeks period postinjury. At 6 weeks postinjury, the gastric emptying in T3-CI rats recovered to baseline values. Conversely animals in the T3-TX group still show a significantly reduced gastric emptying. Interestingly, the almost complete functional recovery observed in T3-CI rats using the [13C]-breath test was not reflected by analysis of spontaneous gastric contractions after SCI. These data indicate that T3-SCI produces a significant reduction in gastric emptying independent of injury severity (T3-CI vs T3-TX) that persists for at least 3 weeks after injury. However, 6 weeks postinjury T3-CI, but not T3-TX, rats begin to demonstrate functional recovery of gastric emptying.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems