After colectomy, continent ileal reservoirs are an accepted alternative to conventional ileostomy for patients with ulcerative colitis. To assess the effect of these reservoirs on digestive function, circulating and morphologic gut endocrine responses were measured in patients with a continent ileostomy or with a pelvic pouch and compared to patients with conventional ileostomy, with active ulcerative colitis and healthy controls. Eight subjects were studied in each group. Basal and postprandial plasma gastrin, enteroglucagon, neurotensin, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, insulin, pancreatic glucagon, and pancreatic polypeptide in both groups with ileal reservoirs were equivalent to controls. Basal plasma motilin and postprandial plasma gastric inhibitory polypeptide were raised in ileal reservoir patients, but similar changes also occurred in ulcerative colitis patients and those with conventional ileostomy. In one half of patients, cell populations of enteroglucagon, peptide YY, and neurotensin were decreased in pouch mucosa that corresponded with the presence of mucosal inflammation. On the other hand, with pouch inflammation vasoactive intestinal polypeptide immunoreactive nerves were increased and a proportion of the fibres were moderately coarsened. Mucosal concentrations of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide did not, however, exceed that of controls. After an ileal reservoir sufficient reserve remains for gut hormone release into the circulation, suggesting compensation for the presence of a reservoir and the absence of a colon; circulating hormone changes do occur but are consequent upon previous ulcerative colitis. Reservoirs may show neuromorphologic alterations that appear to be related to mucosal inflammation.
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