Relation between small intestinal motor activity and transit in secretory diarrhea

V. E. Cowles, S. K. Sarna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations


Our objective in this study was to correlate small intestinal motor activity with transit time in the fed state under normal conditions and in the secretory state induced by cholera toxin. In the control state, transit time was strongly and inversely correlated with the mean distance of propagation and to a lesser degree with frequency and total duration of all contractions. By contrast, transit time was not correlated with total amplitude and area of all contractions. When contractions were separated into propagating and nonpropagating contractions, there was a highly significant inverse correlation between transit time and all parameters of propagating contractions but no relation with any parameters of nonpropagating contractions. Similar results were obtaining during the secretory state induced by cholera toxin. The control data were used to develop a mathematical model to predict transit time from contractile parameters and was validated using the data obtained in the secretory state. Our findings demonstrate that transit through the small intestine in the normal and secretory states is strongly related to the parameters of propagating contractions but not to parameters of nonpropagating contractions.



  • Cholera
  • Cholera toxin
  • Motility
  • Postprandial
  • Propagating and nonpropagating contractions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology

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