Various investigations have focused on understanding the relationship between mucosal serotonin (5-HT) and colonic motility, however contradictory studies have questioned the importance of this intestinal transmitter. Here we described the fabrication and use of a fecal pellet electrochemical sensor that can be used to simultaneously detect the release of luminal 5-HT and colonic motility. Fecal pellet sensor devices were fabricated using carbon nanotube composite electrodes that were housed in 3D printed components in order to generate a device that had shape and size that mimicked a natural fecal pellet. Devices were fabricated where varying regions of the pellet contained the electrode. Devices showed that they were stable and sensitive for ex vivo detection of 5-HT, and no differences in the fecal pellet velocity was observed when compared to natural fecal pellets. The onset of mucosal 5-HT was observed prior to the movement of the fecal pellet. The release of mucosal 5-HT occurred oral to the fecal pellet and was linked to the contraction of the bowel wall that drove pellet propulsion. Taken, together these findings provide new insights into the role of mucosal 5-HT and suggest that the transmitter acts as a key initiator of fecal pellet propulsion.
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Morris, R., Fagan-Murphy, A., MacEachern, S. J., Covill, D., & Patel, B. (2016). Electrochemical fecal pellet sensor for simultaneous real-time ex vivo detection of colonic serotonin signalling and motility. Scientific Reports, 6. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep23442