J Neurogastroenterol Motil  https://doi.org/10.5056/jnm20110
Impaired Colonic Contractility and Intestinal Permeability in Symptomatic Uncomplicated Diverticular Disease
Annamaria Altomare,1* Manuele Gori,1,2 Silvia Cocca,1 Simone Carotti,3,4 Maria Francesconi,3 Mentore Ribolsi,1 Sara Emerenziani,1 Giuseppe Perrone,4 Sergio Morini,3 Michele Cicala,1 and Michele P L Guarino1
1Gastroenterology Unit, Departmental Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, Rome, Italy; 2Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology (IBBC), National Research Council (CNR), Monterotondo Scalo, Rome, Italy; 3Microscopic and Ultrastructural Anatomy Unit, Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, Rome, Italy; and 4Predictive Molecular Diagnostic Division, Department of Pathology, Campus Bio-Medico University Hospital, Rome, Italy
Correspondence to: Annamaria Altomare, MD, PhD
Gastroenterology Unit, Departmental Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, Via Alvaro del Portillo 21, 00128 Rome, Italy
Tel: +39-3336487409, E-mail: a.altomare@unicampus.it
Received: May 14, 2020; Revised: October 31, 2020; Accepted: December 8, 2020; Published online: February 17, 2021.
© The Korean Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility. All rights reserved.

Impaired intestinal motility seems to play a crucial role in symptomatic uncomplicated diverticular disease (SUDD), although the mechanism is not clear. The aim of the present study is to explore the contractility patterns of colonic smooth muscle strips (MS) and smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and to assess mucosal integrity in SUDD patients.
MS or SMCs were isolated from specimens of human distal colon of 18 patients undergoing surgery for non-obstructive colonic cancer, among them 9 with SUDD. Spontaneous phasic contractions on strips and morpho-functional parameters on cells were evaluated in basal conditions and in response to acetylcholine (ACh). Mucosal integrity of SUDD colonic biopsies was evaluated by the Ussing Chamber system. Immunohistochemical staining for tight junction protein complex and for Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) was performed.
Colonic MS of SUDD group showed a significant reduced basal tone and ACh-elicited contraction, compared to the control group (9.5 g and 47.0% in the SUDD group; 14.16 g and 69.0% in the control group; P < 0.05). SMCs of SUDD group showed a maximal contractile response to ACh significantly reduced compared to control group (8.8% vs 16.5%, P < 0.05). SUDD patients displayed lower transepithelial electrical resistance and increased paracellular permeability compared to control group. Immunohistochemical expression of TLR4 was not different in both groups, while tight junction protein complex expression was lower in SUDD patients compared to control group patients.
It could be hypothesized that in SUDD, in absence of severe inflammation, an increased intestinal mucosal permeability is related to altered colonic motility probably responsible for symptoms genesis.
Keywords: Diverticular disease; Gastrointestinal motility; Humans; Muscle, smooth; Permeability

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