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Dig Liver Dis. 2001 Jan-Feb;33(1):36-40.

Low-amplitude propagated contractile waves: a relevant propulsive mechanism of human colon.

Author information

  • 1Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Perugia Medical School, Italy. gabassot@tin.it

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Human colonic motility is still poorly understood, especially as far as concerns its propulsive function. Available data refer almost exclusively to the forceful propulsive activity, which is recognized as high-amplitude propagated contractions, the manometric equivalent of mass movements. By contrast, information on less vigorous propulsive contractions is still lacking.

AIMS:

To investigate the presence and behaviour of low-amplitude propagated contractile waves (less than 50 mmHg in amplitude) in the colon of healthy humans during a 24-hour study period.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS:

A series of 16 healthy volunteers of both sexes entered the study, and were investigated by a standard technique involving a colonoscopically-positioned manometric catheter. During the study, two standard 1,000 kcal mixed meal and a 450 kcal breakfast were served. The recordings were, therefore, scanned for the presence of low-amplitude propagated contractile waves (waves of less than 50 mmHg in amplitude, propagated over at least three consecutive recording ports), their daily distribution, and their relationship with physiological events.

RESULTS:

Low-amplitude propagated contractile waves were constantly present in all the tracings, with an average of about 61 events/subject/day and a mean amplitude of about 20 mmHg. More than 80% of these events appeared during the day, with a significant (p<0.05) increase after meals and after morning awakening. In 25% of subjects, these waves were accompanied by emission of flatus.

CONCLUSIONS:

In the human colon, low-amplitude propagated contractile waves are a constant physiological propulsive pattern, which is generally related to sleep-wake cycles and meal ingestion.

PMID:
11303973
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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