Published online Apr 15, 2002. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v8.i2.312
Revised: January 15, 2002
Accepted: January 25, 2002
Published online: April 15, 2002
AIM: Residual stress and strain are important for gastrointestinal function and relate to the geometric configuration, the loading conditions and the zero-stress state of the gastrointestinal tract. The purpose of this project is to provide morphometric data and residual strains for the rat small intestine (n = 11).
METHODS: To approach the no-load state, the intestine was surgically excised, transferred to an organ bath and cut transversely into short ring-shaped segments. Each ring was cut radially for obtaining the zero-stress state. The residual stress can be characterised by an opening angle. The strain difference between the zero-stress state and the no-load state is called residual strain.
RESULTS: Large morphometric variations were found along the small intestine. The wall thickness was highest in the proximal duodenum and decreased in distal direction along the axis of the small intestine (P < 0.001). The circumferential length of the inner and outer surfaces decreased rapidly along the length of duodenum by 30%-50% (P < 0.001). The wall area and lumen area showed a similar pattern (P < 0.001). In zero-stress state the rings always opened up after making the cut. The experiments resulted in larger inner circumferential length and smaller outer circumferential length when compared to the no-load state. The wall thickness and wall area did not differ between the no-load and zero-stress state. The opening angle and tangent rotation angle increased along the length of the duodenum and had its highest value 30% down the intestine. Further down the intestine it decreased again (P < 0.001). The serosal residual strain was tensile with the highest value close to the ligament of Treitz (P < 0.001). The mucosal residual strain was compressive in all segments of the small intestine with average values between -0.25 and -0.4 and with the lowest values close to the ligament of Treitz (P < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: Axial variation in morphometric properties and residual strains were found in the small intestine. Existence of large residual strains indicates that the zero-stress state must be considered in future biomechanical studies in the gastrointestinal tract.