In the GI tract, hollow organ distention occurs orad to an obstruction produced by a tumor or disease-induced motility disorders (e.g., ganglionic megacolon). In the genitourinary tract, distention of the ureter occurs during passage of a stone, resulting in severe abdominal pain. Hollow organ distention produced by a balloon placed in the lumen of an organ mimics these natural stimuli and is used to examine mechanisms underlying the processing of visceral pain. In addition, several compounds (e.g., mustard oil, capsaicin, turpentine, acid, and zymosan) injected into the lumen of hollow organs induce inflammation and increase the magnitude of the response to distention resulting in visceral hyperalgesia.
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