Ileal Absorptive Adaptation to Jejunal Resection and Extrinsic Denervation: Implications for Living-Related Small Bowel Transplantation

Gregory G. Tsiotos, Michael L. Kendrick, Karen Libsch, Kirk Bierens, Petra Lankisch, Judith A. Duenes, Michael G. Sarr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Net absorption of water, electrolytes, and simple nutrients decreases early after jejunoileal autotransplantation (extrinsic denervation) in a canine model but recovers toward normal by 8 weeks. However, the ability of the extrinsically denervated ileum to adapt after total jejunectomy, which would be relevant as a model of segmental small bowel transplantation, remains unknown. Two groups of five dogs each were studied before and 2 weeks and 12 weeks after 50% proximal enterectomy. A control group remained neurally intact, whereas the other group underwent extrinsic denervation (Ext Den) of the remaining ileum. Using a perfusion technique, net absorption of water, electrolytes, and five simple nutrients (glucose, arginine, glutamine, and oleic and taurocholic acids) was measured at the three time points. Ileal morphometry was also evaluated. All dogs developed diarrhea, which resolved by 12 weeks in all but two of the Ext Den dogs. Weight in both groups was decreased at 2 weeks (P <0.05), returned to normal at 12 weeks in control dogs, but remained low in Ext Den dogs (P <0.05). Maximal weight loss was greater in the Ext Den group (P <0.05). No consistent or important differences in net absorptive fluxes of water, electrolytes, or simple nutrients were noted either within or between groups at any time point. Villous height, crypt depth, and longitudinal muscle width increased significantly at 12 weeks after jejunectomy in the Ext Den dogs, but not in the control dogs (P <0.05). Extrinsic denervation of the ileum results in persistent weight loss after proximal 50% enterectomy. Despite diarrhea, only minor changes in electrolyte absorption occur, and ileal net absorption of simple nutrients remains unaffected. The ileum of extrinsically denervated dogs undergoes a more prominent morphometric adaptation after jejunectomy. Extrinsic denervation necessitated by small bowel transplantation, independent of immune effects, does not appear to suppress the ileal adaptive response to maintain net absorption of water, electrolytes, and simple nutrients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-524
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001


  • Extrinsic denervation
  • Intestinal adaptation
  • Small bowel transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Gastroenterology


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