Temporal relationships between wall motion, intraluminal pressure, and flow in the isolated rabbit small intestine

Phillip Dinning, John Arkwright, Marcello Costa, Lukasz Wiklendt, Grant Hennig, Simon Brookes, Nicholas Spencer

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    28 Citations (Scopus)


    Intraluminal manometry is a tool commonly used to record motility in the human digestive tract. The recorded signal results from a combination of factors, including the hydrodynamic pressure transmitted through the intestinal contents due to contraction of the gut wall and the force of the gut wall acting on the sensors in regions of a luminal occlusion. However, the actual relationships between small bowel wall contraction, the measured intraluminal pressure, and the resultant flow have not been directly addressed. Video recording and high-resolution fiber-optic manometry were used to create spatiotemporal video maps of diameter and intraluminal pressure from isolated segments of rabbit small intestine. In the unstimulated gut, longitudinal muscle contractions were the only detectable motor pattern; circular muscle contractions were elicited by distension or erythromycin (1 μM). Longitudinal muscle contractions were not lumen-occlusive, although they caused measurable low-amplitude changes in pressure. Localized nonpropagating circular muscle contractions caused small localized, nonpropagating peaks of intraluminal pressure. Propagating contractions of circular muscle evoked larger, propagating pressure changes that were associated with outflow. Propagating circular muscle contractions often caused dilation of aboral receiving segments, corresponding to "common cavities"; these were propulsive, despite their low intraluminal pressure. The highest-amplitude pressure events were caused by lumen-occlusive circular muscle contractions that squeezed directly against the catheter. These data allow us to define the complex relationships between wall motion, intraluminal pressure, and flow. A strong correlation between circular and longitudinal muscle contraction and intraluminal pressure was demonstrated. Common-cavity pressure events, caused by propulsion of content by circular muscle contractions into a receptive segment, were often of low amplitude but were highly propulsive. Studies of wall motion in isolated preparations, combined with manometry, can assist in interpretation of pressure recordings in vivo.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)G577-G585
    Number of pages9
    JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


    • High-resolution manometry
    • Motility
    • Small intestine
    • Spatiotemporal maps


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