Structural and functional characteristics of muscle from diabetic rodent small intestine

T. V. Nowak, B. Harrington, J. P. Weisbruch, J. H. Kalbfleisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations


After 30 days of streptozotocin-induced diabetes, the small intestine from untreated diabetic, insulin-treated diabetic, and nondiabetic rodents was excised in toto and measured. Despite a net loss in body weight, the diabetic animals showed a near twofold increase in small intestinal weight. This was characterized by a 148% increase in mucosal mass as well as a 39% increase in intestinal smooth muscle mass (P < 0.05, respectively). The diabetic intestine was significantly longer and had a greater diameter and surface area. Diabetes significantly increased mucosal mass per unit surface area but produced an insignificant decrease in smooth muscle mass per unit surface area. Insulin treatment of the diabetic animals prevented the increase in total mucosal mass and mucosal mass per unit surface area. Insulin treatment also prevented the increase in smooth muscle mass, but reduced smooth muscle mass per unit surface area to a level significantly less than that found in nondiabetic intestine. In vitro dose-response studies of circular and longitudinal small intestinal muscle from the diabetic animals showed normal tension development and sensitivity to both bethanechol chloride and physostigmine. These observations show that the diabetic state produces alterations in not only mucosal but also smooth muscle mass in the small intestine. However, despite these morphological changes, diabetic intestinal smooth muscle retains its sensitivity to cholinergic stimulation and its capacity for tension generation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G690-G698
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number5 21-5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • diabetes mellitus
  • intestinal smooth muscle
  • smooth muscle growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)

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