Send to

Choose Destination
J Nutr. 1987 Jul;117(7):1191-6.

Cephalic reflexes: their role in digestion and possible roles in absorption and metabolism.


Stimulation of the oral cavity immediately elicits salivation, gastric acid secretion and pancreatic exocrine and endocrine secretions that serve to prepare the alimentary canal for digestion, transport and utilization of ingested nutrients. Oropharyngeal-stimulated responses are reliably initiated by the taste and smell of food. These gastrointestinal reflexes, often referred to as anticipatory or cephalic phase responses, are mediated by the autonomic nervous system and are believed to be independent of the postabsorptive effects of ingested nutrients. A common pathway used by cephalic phase responses to trigger gastrointestinal secretions is the vagus. Several studies have also demonstrated that cephalic stimulation activates both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and thus, many cephalic-metabolic reflexes may arise indirectly from more general physiological changes that accompany oropharyngeal stimulation. The present studies suggest that oral stimulation results in alterations in intestinal function. Specifically, oropharyngeal stimulation of conscious, unrestrained rats with sucrose increases the uptake of radioactive glucose from the small intestine into the hepatic portal blood.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center