, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 1040-1045

Impaired colonic motor response to cholinergic stimulation in patients with severe chronic idiopathic (slow transit type) constipation

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Chronic idiopathic constipation, especially the slow transit type, is a troubling problem often afficting young women. The pathophysiological basis for this entity is unknown, although a defective cholinergic innervation has been postulated. We tested the hypothesis that cholinergic colonic innervation is deranged in this condition by studying colonic motor activity after strong cholinergic stimulation with edrophonium chloride in 14 women complaining of slow transit constipation. Unlike healthy subjects, constipated patients showed minimal or no response to edrophonium injection. It is concluded that in slow transit constipation there is an important alteration of colonic cholinergic activity and that edrophonium chloride may represent a useful test drug for colonic pathophysiological investigations.