Sacral nerve stimulation increases gastric accommodation in rats: A spinal afferent and vagal efferent pathway

Feng Ye, Yi Liu, Shiying Li, Sujuan Zhang, Robert D. Foreman, Jiande Dz Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Impaired gastric accommodation (GA) has been frequently reported in various gastrointestinal diseases. No standard treatment strategy is available for treating impaired GA. We explored the possible effect of sacral nerve stimulation (SNS) on GA and discovered a spinal afferent and vagal efferent mechanism in rats. Sprague-Dawley rats (450-500 g) with a chronically implanted gastric cannula and ECG electrodes were studied in a series of sessions to study: 1) the effects of SNS with different parameters on gastric tone, compliance, and accommodation using a barostat device; two sets of parameters were tested as follows: Parameter 1) 5 Hz, 500 μs, 10 s on 90 s off; 90% motor threshold and parameter 2) same as parameter 1 but 25 Hz; 2) the involvement of spinal afferent pathway via detecting c-fos immunoreactive (IR) cells in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) of the brain; 3) the involvement of vagal efferent activity via the spectral analysis of heart rate variability derived from the ECG; and 4) the nitrergic mechanism, Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), a nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor, was given before SNS at 5 Hz. Compared with sham-SNS: 1) SNS at 5 Hz inhibited gastric tone and increased gastric compliance and GA. No difference was noted between the stimulation frequencies of 5 and 25 Hz. 2) SNS increased the expression of c-fos in the NTS. 3) SNS increased cardiac vagal efferent activity and decreased the sympathovagal ratio. 4) L-NAME blocked the relaxation effect of SNS. In conclusion, SNS with certain parameters relaxes gastric fundus and improves gastric accommodation mediated via a spinal afferent and vagal efferent pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G574-G581
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020


  • Gastric accommodation
  • Sacral nerve stimulation
  • Spinal afferent pathway
  • Vagal efferent pathway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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