Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Colonic inertia, total or segmental, is a known cause of constipation, yet its etiology is poorly understood and its treatment not satisfactory. Although the colonic electric activity has been studied by many investigators, the colonic pacemakers that are assumed to generate the electric waves, are scarcely addressed and their location, to our knowledge, has not been determined. The current communication investigates the possible sites of the colonic pacemakers, aiming at a better understanding of the mechanism of colonic motility and its disorders, notably colonic inertia. The tests were performed during the repair of huge incisional hernia in 12 subjects (mean age 37.7 ± 10.2 years, 7 women). Monopolar silver-silver chloride electrodes were applied to the terminal ileum (TI) and cecum (C), and to the ascending (AC), transverse (TC), descending (DC) and sigmoid colon (SC); they were fixed by electrode gel to the ileal and colonic serosa. The electric activity of each of the TI, C, AC, TC, DC and SC was recorded. Electric waves in the form of slow waves or pacesetter potentials and action potentials were recorded from the TI and colon. Differences in the frequency, amplitude and conduction velocity of the waves occurred between the TI and the various segments of the colon. The change in the wave variables between the TI and C occurred at the ileocecal junction, between the C and AC at the cecocolonic junction, the AC and TC at the mid third of the TC and the DC and SC at the colosigmoid junction. The colonic electric waves are suggested to be generated by at least 4 pacemakers, which are presumably located at the ileocecal junction, the cecocolonic junction, the mid third of TC and at the colosigmoid junction. The electric waves appear to be responsible for conducting the colonic motor activity. We postulate that disordered colonic pacemakers may produce segmental or total colonic inertia, a proposition that needs further investigation.