The opossum sphincter of Oddi (SO) exhibits peristaltic spike bursts with accompanying contraction waves that originate proximally in the sphincter of Oddi and propagate toward the duodenum. In this study we recorded myoelectric activity of the opossum SO and upper gastrointestinal tract in six conscious animals using chronically implanted electrodes. Bipolar electrodes were implanted in the gastric antrum, duodenum, SO segment, jejunum, and ileum. During fasting the frequency of SO spike bursts, scored as number per minute, showed a cyclic pattern consisting of four phases (A to D). Phase A had a low spike burst frequency of ~2/min that lasted ~20 min. In phase B, the spike burst frequency increased progressively during a 40-45 min interval culminating in a short level phase C activity characterized by a maximal spike burst frequency of ~5/min. During phase D, the spike bursts decreased over 15 min to merge with the low frequency of phase A and the cycle repeated. Cycle length of the interdigestive SO cycle, 87±11 SD min, was virtually identical with that of the interdigestive migrating myoelectric complex (MMC) of the upper gastrointestinal tract. The onset of phase C activity in the SO began 1-2 min before phase III of the MMC activity in the duodenum. Feeding abolished the cyclic pattern of spike burst activity in the SO as well as in the upper gastrointestinal tract. After feeding the SO spike bursts occurred at a frequency of 5-6/min for at least 3 h. We conclude that: (a) During fasting, the opossum SO exhibits cyclic changes in its spike burst frequency; (b) Maximal spike burst frequency of the SO occurs virtually concurrent with passage of phase III MMC activity through the duodenum and; (c) Feeding abolishes the interdigestive cyclic spike burst pattern of the SO as well as that of the gastrointestinal tract.
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