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Am J Physiol. 1998 Feb;274(2 Pt 1):G359-69.

Contractions move contents by changing the configuration of the isolated cat stomach.

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  • 1Gastroenterologic Research Laboratories, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.


To understand how contractions move gastric contents, we measured, in isolated cat stomachs, the effects of contractions on gastric length, diameters, pressures, and emptying. Movements of the stomach and of gastric contents were monitored by video camera and ultrasound and were related to mechanical events. Based on pressures, we defined the following four phases of contractions: 1) Po, a steady pressure associated with tonic contraction of proximal stomach; 2) P', a pressure wave during which the contraction indents the gastric body; 3) a pressure nadir while the contraction lifts the gastric sinus toward the incisura; and 4) a second pressure wave, P", as the contraction advances through the antrum. In open preparations, liquid output and shortening of the greater curvature are large during Po, stop during P', and resume with P". Contractions generate higher pressures when gastric volume is held steady. Contractions increase wall thickness and decrease gastric diameters at sites they involve and have opposite effects at remote sites. Contractions move the incisura and hence redraw the borders between gastric segments and shift volumes back and forth within the gastric lumen. Contractions furthermore stir up, compress, and disperse particulate beans without moving them to the pylorus. We conclude that gastric contractions 1) reverse changes in gastric length that occur during gastric filling, 2) move gastric contents directly through local contact and indirectly by changing the configuration of the stomach, and 3) interact with structures such as the incisura in retaining and breaking up solid gastric contents.

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