Motor patterns in the proximal and distal mouse colon which underlie formation and propulsion of faeces

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In herbivores, the proximal and distal colonic regions feature distinct motor patterns underlying formation and propulsion of fecal pellets, respectively. Omnivores, such as mice and humans, lack a similar clear anatomical transition between colonic regions. We investigated whether distinct processes form and propel content along the large intestine of a mouse (an omnivore).
We recorded propulsive and non‐propulsive neurogenic motor activity in mouse large intestine under six different stimulus conditions of varying viscosities. Gut wall movements were recorded by video and smooth muscle electrical behavior recorded with extracellular suction electrodes.
Key Results
Three major neurally mediated motor patterns contributed to pellet formation and propulsion. (1) Pellet‐shaped boluses are pinched off near the ceco‐colonic junction and slowly propelled distally to a transition located at 40% length along the colon. (2) At this functional colonic flexure, propulsion speed is significantly increased by self‐sustaining neural peristalsis. Speed transition at this location also occurs with artificial pellets and with spontaneously formed boluses in the empty colon. (3) Periodic colonic motor complexes (CMCs) were present in all conditions reaching a maximal frequency of about 0.4 cpm and extending across the proximal and distal colon with faster speed of propagation.
Conclusions and Inferences
The three motor patterns share a unique underlying fundamental property of the enteric circuits, which involve extended ensembles of enteric neurons firing at close to 2 Hz. The demonstration of distinct functional differences between proximal and distal colon in rabbit, guinea pig, and now mouse raises the possibility that this may be an organizational principle in other mammalian species, including humans.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14098
Number of pages14
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number7
Early online date15 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • colonic motility
  • colonic motor complexes
  • fecal pellets
  • peristalsis


Dive into the research topics of 'Motor patterns in the proximal and distal mouse colon which underlie formation and propulsion of faeces'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this