Intestinal graft motility after small bowel transplantation (SBT) is poorly characterized. The aim of this study was to compare motor patterns with myenteric neuronal cell population as a parameter of graft viability at various degrees of acute cellular rejection (ACR). Three grades of ACR were achieved in orthotopic allografts. Syngeneic transplants and allografts with immunosuppression served as controls. Motor activities were recorded using strain gauge force transducers and analyzed visually. Quantifications of myenteric neurons in whole mounts of intestinal grafts were used to evaluate neuronal population. A typical migrating motor complex (MMC) was found in syngeneic and allogenic transplants with immunosuppression. A high prevalence of discrete clustered contractions (DCC) and nonpropagating contractions (NPC) without MMC was seen in moderately and severely rejected allografts. Neuronal cell loss in the allografts, which could be one of the causes of motor dysfunction, was noted in moderate rejection (19.3%) and progressed until severe rejection (60.1%). Monitoring motility patterns in SBT could be an effective tool for assessing intestinal rejection. Allograft dysmotility, such as absence of MMC and high prevalence of DCC or NPC, could be useful markers of progression of acute rejection and help guide treatment decisions.
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