The rat tapeworm Hymenolepis diminuta alters the myoelectric activity of the small intestine. To determine if secreted factors from the tapeworm are responsible for these alterations of intestinal smooth muscle activity, tapeworm-conditioned medium (TCM) obtained from in vitro culture was infused via an indwelling cannula into the duodenum of an uninfected rat. Myoelectric recordings were analyzed for sustained spike potentials (SSP) and repetitive bursts of action potentials (RBAP), the previously characterized tapeworm modifications of the normal interdigestive myoelectric pattern. Results indicated that TCM initiated SSP, but not RBAP in the intestine of the uninfected rat. The SSP-inducing signal factor activity, present in TCM, was retained after boiling, prolonged freezing, proteinase treatment, and passage through a 10-kDa exclusion filter. The signal factor was soluble in the aqueous phase on lipid extraction. It was concluded that the SSP-inducing signal factor is a nonproteinaceous, heat-resistant, low–molecular weight, water soluble molecule.
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