Modification of small bowel mechanosensitivity by intestinal fat

A. M. Accarino, F. Azpiroz, J. R. Malagelada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Background - Lipids may exacerbate symptoms induced by gut stimuli. Aim - To determine the mechanism whereby fat exerts this effect. Subjects - Twenty four healthy subjects were studied during fasting. Methods - We measured perception (0-6 scale) in response to jejunal balloon distension and transmucosal electrical nerve stimulation; phasic stimuli (one minute) were randomly applied at five minute intervals during intestinal infusion (2 ml/min) of saline and then Intralipid 2 kcal/min (high fat; n=8 subjects), Intralipid 0.5 kcal/min (low fat; n=8), or saline (n=8). Results - Intestinal lipids increased the perception of jejunal distension regardless of concentration (by 53% with high fat, 49% with low fat, and 17% with saline; p<0.05 for both fat loads). This effect could not be attributed to changes in intestinal compliance as intraballoon pressures remained unchanged during lipid infusion (2% change; NS). Sensitisation induced by lipids seemed to be specifically related to intestinal mechanoreceptors because electrical stimulation, which non-specifically activates gut afferents, was perceived equally during saline and lipid administration (10%, 11%, and 15% change during high fat, low fat, and saline, respectively; NS). Conclusion - Physiological amounts of lipids heighten intestinal sensitivity by modulating intestinal mechanoreceptor response.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)690-695
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2001


  • Abdominal symptoms
  • Intestinal afferents
  • Intestinal distension
  • Intestinal electrical nerve stimulation
  • Intestinal sensitivity


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