The effect of volume expansion of extracellular fluid on gastroduodenal resistance to the flow of isotonic saline was assessed in three groups of rats using intravenous infusions of isotonic, isotonic-isoncotic, and isotonic-isoncotic-isohaemic solutions. The gastroduodenal segment of 29 male Wistar rats was barostatically perfused at a constant pressure gradient of 4 cm H2O and changes in flow (ml/minute) were taken as a reflection of changes in gastroduodenal resistance. Isotonic expansion led to a 33% drop in gastroduodenal flow compared with the normovolaemic period in the same animals (p less than 0.01). Extracellular fluid expansion with isotonic-isoncotic and isotonic-isoncotic-isohaemic solutions was associated with reductions in gastroduodenal flow of 29% (p less than 0.05) and 31% (p less than 0.01) respectively. The increase in gastroduodenal resistance is due to hypervolaemia per se and not to haemodilution, decreases in plasma oncotic pressure, or electrolyte imbalance. The effect of hypervolaemia on gastroduodenal resistance, which was reversed by small haemorrhages (0.5-1.0 ml per 100 g body weight), may be due to changes in tonus or phasic motor activity, or both, and may be part of the homeostatic processes that help the organism minimise liquid volume excess.
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