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Peritonitis and Paralysis

r norman rsn_ at _comcast.net
Sun Nov 9 17:14:19 EST 2003

On 9 Nov 2003 09:23:01 -0800, glucegen at excite.com (Radium) wrote:

>How does peritonitis paralyze intestinal muscles?
>AFAIK it does not directly affect any part of the nervous system.
>How can a disease cause paralysis of any muscle if it does not affect
>some part of the nervous system.
>Is the peritoneum a pathway for motor nerves to communicate w/ the
>intestinal muscles?

One answer is found in
  Garcia et al.
  Physiopathology of paralytic ileus secondary to 
       chemical peritonitis. Experimental study in dogs
  Rev Esp Enferm Apar Dig. 1989 Oct;76(4):307-15


They found that it is not the muscle fiber that is paralyzed.  So it
is probably humoral factors (hormones, local hormones, ion changes or
oter local agents) released by the inflammation acting on the nerve
networks (myenteris and submucosal plexus) that pervade the intestine.

You say that peritonitis "does not directly affect any part of the
nervous system."  Just because the nervous tissue is not directly
INfected does not mean the nervous system is not directly AFfected.
There are an enormous number of nerve cells contained within the
intestines that could easily be influenced by the infection.

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