Net fluid transport was measured in denervated jejunal segments of rats infected with larvae of Nippostrongylus brasiliensis. On days 6-9 after nematode inoculation, when the jejunal segment exhibited macroscopic and microscopic signs of inflammation, net fluid absorption was noticeably attenuated compared with control, and in eight of 26 experiments a net fluid secretion was seen. To determine whether enteric nerves participated in the response, intravenous hexamethonium (10 mg/kg body weight) was given or lidocaine (1% solution) was placed on the serosa of the intestinal segment. Both drugs significantly reduced fluid secretion or increased fluid absorption. The effect was more pronounced the lower the rate of fluid absorption or the higher the rate of fluid secretion. The inflammatory response influenced intestinal fluid transport partly via activation of the enteric nervous system. It was estimated that 50-60% of the change in fluid transport caused by the parasite could be ascribed to activation of intramural nervous reflexes. The effect of hexamethonium indicates that a cholinergic synapse is present in the secretory nervous reflux activated by inflammation. Experiments were also performed on animals on days 11-14 after infection when the nematodes had been expelled from the animal. A large net fluid absorption was then recorded.
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