Two-dimensional high-resolution motility mapping in the isolated feline duodenum: Methodology and initial results

W. J.E.P. Lammers, S. Dhanasekaran, J. R. Slack, B. Stephen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Several types of electrical events occur in the small intestine but their spatial and temporal contributions to overall motility are not clear. In order to quantify local motility in greater detail, a new technique of recording and analysing movements at multiple sites was developed. Use was made of isolated segments of feline duodenum superfused in a tissue bath. Multiple marker dots (20-75) were placed on the serosal surface by applying fine spots of candle soot in rectangular arrays (1-2 mm dot separation). A digital video camera was used to record spontaneous movements of the dots for periods of 10-30 min. After each experiment, 4-6 periods (10-60 s each) of video frames were transferred to a computer (25 fps, 720×576 pixels) and the movements of the dots was tracked every 40 ms using custom-made software. Initial results (eight experiments) show that spontaneous motility is remarkably variable, both in space and time. Three types of movement could be discerned: (i) periodic, rolling or pendular movements, with a frequency of approximately 15 min-1 occurring predominantly in the longitudinal direction; (ii) twitches, wherein a subset of dots were suddenly displaced longitudinally; and (iii) drifts of most of the dots in a circular or oblique direction. All three types of movement occurred throughout every recording session although their relative magnitudes differed greatly from moment to moment. Occasionally, it was possible to detect propagated 'contractions' with an apparent velocity of 10 mm s-1. Immobilizing the preparation at one point by inserting a needle through the middle of the array of markers had a negligible effect on the displacements, whereas application of verapamil (10-5 mol L-1) reduced or abolished motility. In summary, we present a new technique to map in detail two-dimensional motility at the surface of the intestine. Initial results seem to suggest that motility at the serosal surface is not uniform and highly anisotropic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-323
Number of pages15
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Motility
  • Motility mapping
  • Slow wave
  • Small intestine
  • Spike patches

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Gastroenterology


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