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Sympathetic activity in the recto-rectal reflex of the guinea pig

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In the guinea pig, defecation is controlled by the myenteric plexus, whose activity is modulated by the sacral spinal and supraspinal centers. The purpose of this study is to clarify the control of defecation reflex by sympathetic nerves. The propulsive contractions of the rectum produced by rectal distension (recto-rectal excitatory reflex response) were abolished after transection of the Th 13 and/or the L 4 segment. This response was reproduced again after removal of the lumbar segments (L1-4), division of the lumbar dorsal roots (L1-4), the lumbar splanchnic nerves or lumbar colonic nerves (LCN). The frequency of efferent discharges of LCN was increased slightly by rectal distension and remarkably increased after Th 13 and/or L 4 transection. Thus, there occurs during the recto-rectal reflex not only mucosal intrinsic reflex and sacral excitatory reflex via the pelvic nerves but also a lumbar inhibitory reflex via the colonic nerves, whose center may be located in the upper lumbar segments.

But, the activity of the inhibitory center was depressed by the supraspinal center, so that an excitatory reflex is produced more dominantly than an inhibitory one in normal animals. All these extrinsic reflexes coordinate the activity of the myenteric plexus in defecation reflex.

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Correspondence to Miyako Takaki.

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Takaki, M., Neya, T. & Nakayama, S. Sympathetic activity in the recto-rectal reflex of the guinea pig. Pflugers Arch. 388, 45–52 (1980). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00582627

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Key words

  • Sympathetic nerves
  • Defecation reflex
  • Spinal cord
  • Supraspinal center
  • Rectal motility