American Journal of Physiology. Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology vol:287 issue:5 pages:G988-92
After a meal, the proximal stomach relaxes probably through the activation of nitrergic neurons in the gastric wall. Nitric oxide-induced smooth muscle relaxation involves activation of soluble guanylate cyclase, with cGMP production, which is then degradated by phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5). The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of sildenafil, a selective PDE-5 inhibitor, on fasting and postprandial proximal gastric volume and on gastric emptying rates in humans. A gastric barostat was used to study gastric compliance and perception to isobaric distension in healthy subjects before and after placebo (n = 13) or sildenafil, 50 mg (n = 15). In 10 healthy subjects, two gastric barostat studies were performed in randomized order to study the effect of placebo or sildenafil on postprandial gastric relaxation. Similarly, solid and liquid gastric emptying rates were studied in 12 healthy subjects. Sildenafil significantly increased fasting intragastric volume (141 +/- 15 vs. 163 +/- 15 ml, P < 0.05) and volumes of first perception. Sildenafil induced a higher and prolonged gastric relaxation either at 30 min (357 +/- 38 vs. 253 +/- 42 ml, P < 0.05) or 60 min (348 +/- 49 vs. 247 +/- 38 ml, P < 0.05) after the meal. Sildenafil did not alter solid half-emptying time but significantly delayed liquid emptying (43 +/- 4 vs. 56 +/- 4 min, P < 0.01). In conclusion, sildenafil significantly increases postprandial gastric volume and slows liquid emptying rate, confirming that meal-induced accommodation in humans involves the activation of a nitrergic pathway. The effect of sildenafil on gastric fundus suggests a therapeutic potential for phosphodiesterase inhibitors in patients with impaired gastric accommodation.