Identification of multiple distinct neurogenic motor patterns that can occur simultaneously in the guinea pig distal colon

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In the guinea pig distal colon, nonpropulsive neurally mediated motor patterns have been observed in different experimental conditions. Isolated segments of guinea pig distal colon were used to investigate these neural mechanisms by simultaneously recording wall motion, intraluminal pressure, and smooth muscle electrical activity in different conditions of constant distension and in response to pharmacological agents. Three distinct neurally dependent motor patterns were identified: transient neural events (TNEs), cyclic motor complexes (CMC), and distal colon migrating motor complexes (DCMMC). These could occur simultaneously and were distinguished by their electrophysiological, mechanical, and pharmacological features. TNEs occurred at irregular intervals of ~3s, with bursts of action potentials at 9 Hz. They propagated orally at 12 cm/s via assemblies of ascending cholinergic interneurons that activated final excitatory and inhibitory motor neurons, apparently without involvement of stretch-sensitive intrinsic primary afferent neurons. CMCs occurred during maintained distension and consisted of clusters of closely spaced TNEs, which fused to cause high-frequency action potential firing at 7 Hz lasting ~10 s. They generated periodic pressure peaks mediated by stretch-sensitive intrinsic primary afferent neurons and by cholinergic interneurons. DCMMCs were generated by ongoing activity in excitatory motor neurons without apparent involvement of stretch-sensitive neurons, cholinergic interneurons, or inhibitory motor neurons. In conclusion, we have identified three distinct motor patterns that can occur concurrently in the isolated guinea pig distal colon. The mechanisms underlying the generation of these neural patterns likely involve recruitment of different populations of enteric neurons with distinct temporal activation properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)G32-G44
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number1
Early online date18 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • colonic motor patterns
  • electromyography
  • enteric neural circuits
  • Enteric neural circuits
  • Electromyography
  • Colonic motor patterns


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