Background. Multiorgan upper gut transplantation is becoming clinically feasible; however, the effects of multivisceral transplantations on gastrointestinal motility are unknown. Our aim was to determine the neural and hormonal mechanisms controlling motility patterns after complete extrinsic denervation of the upper gut as a model of multivisceral upper gut autotransplantation. Methods. Seven dogs successfully underwent in situ neural isolation of the stomach, entire small intestine, proximal colon, liver, and pancreas by transecting all connections (distal esophagus, midcolon, all nerves, lymphatics) to this multivisceral complex except the celiac artery, superior mesenteric artery, and the suprahepatic and infrahepatic vena cava; these vessels were meticulously stripped of adventitia under optical magnification. Blood flow was not disrupted to prevent confounding effects of ischemia-reperfusion injury. After 1- to 2- week recovery, myoelectric and manometric recordings of stomach and myoelectric recordings of small bowel were obtained from conscious animals. Results. During fasting the characteristic cycling migrating motor complex (MMC) was observed in the stomach and small intestine. The gastric component of the MMC was absent in one of the seven dogs. Regular cycling of the MMC during fasting, however, was intermittently disrupted and replaced by a noncyclic pattern of intermittent contractions in two of seven dogs 43% of the recording time. A small meal (50 gm liver) did not abolish the MMC as occurs in normal dogs; in contrast, a large meal (500 gm liver) did abolish the MMC. Conclusions. Extrinsic innervation to the upper gut modulates but is not requisite for interdigestive and postprandial motility of the stomach. Because relatively normal global motility patterns are preserved, multivisceral upper gut transplantation should be a viable option in selected patients.
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