Propagation of individual spikes as "patches" of activation in isolated feline duodenum

Wim J.E.P. Lammers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Asynchrony of spikes has made it difficult to study the spatial and temporal behavior of spikes in the gastrointestinal system. By simultaneously recording from a large number of closely spaced electrodes, we investigated the propagation of individual spikes. Recordings were performed from the serosal surface of the isolated feline duodenum at 240 sites simultaneously. Analysis of the tracings made it possible to reconstruct the propagation of individual spikes. Spikes propagate in the longitudinal and circumferential directions in self-limiting areas or "patches." Conduction within patches may occur in the orad or aborad direction irrespective of the direction of the slow wave. Most of the patches are smaller (<40 mm2), although inhomogeneous activation by the preceding slow wave may increase their size. Stimulation by ACh, TTX, or tetraethylammonium does not affect the average patch size but does increase significantly their number and distribution in the duodenum [from 26% (control) to 56%, 61%, and 72%, respectively]. In conclusion, individual spikes activate limited areas or patches in the small intestine, and pharmacological stimulation increases the number and distribution of these patches. In the small intestine, this pattern of activation would induce localized contractions. Contraction could be modulated by the size, number, and distribution of spike patches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)G297-G307
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology
Issue number2 PART 1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Contraction
  • Myometrium
  • Slow waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)


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