Chemically induced bowel denervation improves survival in short bowel syndrome

Alan Sawchuk, Seiichi Goto, Judith Yount, Jeffrey A. Grosfeld, Joseph Lohmuller, Mark D. Grosfeld, Jay L. Grosfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


This study evaluates the effect of chemically induced bowel denervation on survival, weight gain or loss, transit time, and d-xylose absorption in rats following 80% small bowel resection. Forty-three male Sprague-Dawley rats (150 g) underwent 80% midsmall bowel resection and anastomosis. Twenty rats were short bowel controls (group I). In 23 rats (group II), a 2.0 cm segment of jejunum proximal to the anastomosis was denervated by application of 0.1% benzalkonium chloride (BK) for 30 minutes. Ten additional rats underwent sham laparotomy without bowel resection. Five remained untreated (group III) and in 5 (BK) denervation was added (group IV). Bowel denervation was confirmed by histologic study in all (BK) rats. Weight and daily food and water intake were measured for 30 days and the groups compared. Weight in group I was 43.8±52.9 g, group II 95.0±50.1, (P<.005), group III 177 g, and group IV 175 g. Food intake was greater in group I than II (P<.05) and was similar to groups III and IV. Water intake calculated as animal weight (g)/mL H2O ingested was lowest in group I (P<.05). Mortality was 30% in group I (6/20) and only 8.6% in group II (2/23). No deaths were observed in unresected controls (III and IV). Twenty-four additional rats were evaluated for d-xylose absorption and transit time by bringing out a loop enterostomy 10.0 cm from the Ligament of Treitz. Twelve rats were ostomy controls (group V). A 2.0 cm segment was denervated by (BK) application 4.0 cm from the ligament of Treitz in the other 12 rats (group VI). Rats were gavaged 1.0 mL of barium as a marker. Denervation increased the transit time from 7.9 minutes in group V to 10.9 minutes in group VI. D-xylose absorption in denervated rats group (VI) was 19.2 mg/dL at one hour and 34 mg/dL at two hours compared with 14.0 and 20 mg/dL in group V short gut controls. These data indicate that chemically induced short segment (2.0 cm) bowel denervation slows intestinal transit, increases dxylose absorption, improves weight gain and survival in rats with 80% bowel resection. These observations suggest this technique may have clinical applicability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)492-496
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • Short bowel syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery

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    Sawchuk, A., Goto, S., Yount, J., Grosfeld, J. A., Lohmuller, J., Grosfeld, M. D., & Grosfeld, J. L. (1987). Chemically induced bowel denervation improves survival in short bowel syndrome. Journal of Pediatric Surgery, 22(6), 492-496.