Advances in colonic motor complexes in mice

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    21 Citations (Scopus)


    The primary functions of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract are to absorb nutrients, water, and electrolytes that are essential for life. This is accompanied by the capability of the GI tract to mix ingested content to maximize absorption and effectively excrete waste material. There have been major advances in understanding intrinsic neural mechanisms involved in GI motility. This review highlights major advances over the past few decades in our understanding of colonic motor complexes (CMCs), the major intrinsic neural patterns that control GI motility. CMCs are generated by rhythmic coordinated firing of large populations of myenteric neurons. Initially, it was thought that serotonin release from the mucosa was required for CMC generation. However, careful experiments have now shown that neither the mucosa nor endogenous serotonin are required, although, evidence suggests enteroendocrine (EC) cells modulate CMCs. The frequency and extent of propagation of CMCs are highly dependent on mechanical stimuli (circumferential stretch). In summary, the isolated mouse colon emerges as a good model to investigate intrinsic mechanisms underlying colonic motility and provides an excellent preparation to explore potential therapeutic agents on colonic motility, in a highly controlled in vitro environment. In addition, during CMCs, the mouse colon facilitates investigations into the emergence of dynamic assemblies of extensive neural networks, applicable to the nervous system of different organisms.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)G12-G29
    Number of pages18
    JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


    • Colonic motor complex
    • Enteric nervous system
    • Enteric neuron
    • Mouse
    • Peristalsis


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