Background & aims: We have shown that intestinal manipulation leads to a significant inhibition of circular muscle contraction. We hypothesized that the inflammatory mediator inducible nitric oxide (NO) plays a role in surgically induced ileus.
Methods: Rats and inducible NO synthase (iNOS) knockout and wild-type mice underwent a simple intestinal manipulation. Reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry were used to detect and localize iNOS expression. Nitrite and NO production were measured in muscularis cultures. Spontaneous and bethanechol-stimulated jejunal circular muscle contractions were measured in an organ bath.
Results: Intestinal manipulation resulted in significant iNOS messenger RNA induction in mucosa and muscularis. Immunohistochemistry localized iNOS in phagocytes within the muscularis. Nitrite and NO production increased 59.8-fold 24 hours after manipulation. L-n(6)-(1-iminoethyl) lysine (L-NIL) inhibited this response. In control rats, selective iNOS inhibition did not increase spontaneous muscle activity, but after manipulation L-NIL significantly improved spontaneous activity. iNOS knockout mice showed a significant 81% decrease in neutrophil infiltration into the muscularis after intestinal manipulation compared with wild-types. Contractile activity was normal in knockout mice after intestinal manipulation.
Conclusions: These results show that leukocyte-derived inducible NO inhibits gastrointestinal motility after manipulation and plays an essential role in the initiation of intestinal inflammation.