ABSTRACT: Serotonin regulates colonic motility receptors expressed on neural fibers and smooth muscle. Colonic inertia is characterized by delayed colonic transit. Abnormalities in serotonin receptor protein, as judged by immunoreactivity levels, could contribute to the origin of colonic inertia. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of serotonin receptor(s) immunoreactivity in the left colon of patients with colonic inertia compared with controls.
Sixteen patients who underwent subtotal colectomy for colonic inertia were assessed. Colonic transit time was measured with the radiopaque marker technique and presented as the number of retained markers in the colon on Day 5. The control group consisted of 18 patients who underwent left hemicolectomy for colonic carcinoma; histologically normal tissues from the left colon were used. Immunohistochemical staining for serotonin receptor was performed with a rabbit anti-idiotypic antibody. The average positive area (square pixels) in the mucosa, muscularis mucosa, submucosa, and circular and longitudinal muscles per microscopic field (63x) was calculated based on measurement of the positively stained area in 20 randomly chosen microscopic fields in each related structure. The Scion Image computer analysis system was used.
Serotonin receptor(s) immunoreactivity was mainly detected in the muscular mucosa, circular muscles, and longitudinal muscles and rarely in the mucosa and submucosa. In muscularis mucosa and circular muscle, the positive areas were significantly less in the colonic inertia group than in controls (muscularis mucosa: 29.1 +/- 10.8 vs 109.7 +/- 28.2, P < 0.05; circular muscle: 25.6 +/- 6.2 vs 90.2 +/- 19.1, P < 0.01). There were significantly positive correlations in the control group in serotonin receptor(s) immunoreactivity levels between circular muscle and longitudinal muscle (r = 0.54, P < 0.05) and between muscular mucosa and longitudinal muscle (r = 0.57, P < 0.05) but not in colonic inertia patients. In addition, the positive areas in the circular muscle were positively correlated to the colonic transit time (Spearman's rank correlation, 0.83; P < 0.01).
In colonic inertia patients, the serotonin receptor(s) immunoreactivity level is lower in muscular mucosa and circular muscle. The absence of a correlation of serotonin receptor(s) immunoreactivity in the muscular mucosa and muscularis propria in the patient group implies that an uncoordinated expression of serotonin receptors may also contribute to colonic inertia. However, the positive correlation between serotonin receptor(s) immunoreactivity levels in the circular muscle and the transit time observed in colonic inertia patients suggests a decrease in stimulatory subtypes and at the same time an increase in inhibitory subtypes of serotonin receptors in this tissue.
Diseases of the Colon & Rectum 01/2003; 46(1):81-6. · 3.13 Impact Factor