, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 336-346
Date: 12 Jan 2007

Biomechanical Remodeling of the Chronically Obstructed Guinea Pig Small Intestine

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Abstract

Small intestinal obstruction is a frequently encountered clinical problem. To understand the mechanisms behind obstruction and the clinical consequences, data are needed on the relation between the morphologic and biomechanical remodeling that takes place in the intestinal wall during chronic obstruction. We sought to determine the effect of partial obstruction on mechanical and morphologic properties of the guinea pig small intestine. Partial obstruction was created surgically in 2 groups of animals living for 2 and 4 weeks. Controls were sham operated and lived for 4 weeks. A combined impedance planimetry–high-frequency ultrasound system was designed to measure the luminal cross-sectional area and wall thickness. These measures were used to compute the circumferential stress and strain of the excised intestinal segments. The incremental elastic modulus was obtained by using nonlinear fitting of the stress–strain curve. Histologic analysis and the measurements of total wall collagen were also performed. The luminal cross-sectional area, wall thickness, and elastic modulus in circumferential direction increased in a time-dependent manner proximal to the obstruction site (P < 0.01), whereas no differences in these parameters were found distal to the obstruction site (P > 0.25). The circumferential stress–strain curves of the proximal segments in 2- and 4-week groups shifted to the left, indicating the intestinal wall became stiffer. Histologic examination revealed a massive increase in the thickness of the muscle layer especially the circular smooth muscle layer (P < 0.05). The collagen content proximal to the obstruction site was significantly larger in the partially obstructed animals compared to controls (P < 0.05). No difference was found distal to the obstruction site. Strong correlation was found between the collagen content and the elastic modulus at stress levels of 70 kPa stress (P < 0.01) and 10 kPa (P < 0.05) proximal to the obstruction site suggesting that the alteration of collagen has great impact on the mechanical remodeling. The morphologic and biomechanical remodeling likely influence the function of the intestine affected by partial obstructed intestine.