Transmural electrical potential difference in the mammalian esophagus in vivo

Keith S. Turner, Don W. Powell, Charles N. Carney, Roy C. Orlando, Eugene M. Bozymski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


A simple, safe, accurate, and reproducible technique for measuring the transmural electrical potential difference (PD) of the esophagus has been developed. This technique, a modification of those previously used, allows simultaneous correlation of the PD profile with the pressure profile obtained during routine manometry. With this technique, a subcutaneous reference bridge was shown to detect accurately a lumennegative electrical orientation for the esophageal PD in three species: rabbit, opossum, and man. A characteristic and reproducible PD profile was present for each species. In the rabbit the gastric PD was low, -12 mv, relative to the body of the esophagus, -26 to -29 mv. In contrast, both opossum and man had relatively high gastric PD's (-36 to -43 mv) when compared to esophageal PD's (-12 to -25 mv). In the rabbit and opossum, the PD in the lower esophageal sphincter (-5 to -6 mv) was less than both gastric or esophageal PD's, whereas in human beings the lower esophageal sphincter PD (-22 mv) was between gastric and esophageal values. In vitro PD measurements and histological studies of opossum esophagus revealed differences in the epithelium which correlated with the different in vivo PD's.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-291
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1978
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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