Spatio-temporal analysis of rat intestinal motility in physiological and disease models [ 2003 - 2005 ]

Also known as: Patterns of motility in health and disease

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Prof Marcello Costa (Principal investigator) ,  A/Pr Geoff Hebbard Prof Simon Brookes

Brief description This project addresses the question of how the movements of the gut are controlled in health and disease. The progress of food along the gut is due to movements of the involuntary muscle of the wall of the intestine. Three fundamental mechanisms are involved. One is the spontaneous ability of the intestinal muscle to contract rhythmically and is driven by a delicate net of pacemaker cells. Fast propulsion of food contents depends on nerve circuits in the gut wall that generate a powerful pumping behaviour to prevent over-filling or to eject toxic or irritating substances (eg: some laxatives activate this mechanisms). This is often called peristalsis. A third mechanism consists of activity of nerve cells in the gut, that slowly propagates along the intestine and causes the muscle to contract, sweeping along any remnants. The movements generated by these three mechanisms occur in segments of intestine isolated from rats. The major difficulty up until now has been to relate the actual movements in living animals to these fundamental mechanisms. It is now possible to bridge this gap because we have developed methods to record, display and measure graphically the actual movements. Movements are transformed into spatio-temporal maps which show all of the contractions over a period of time. Coordinated activity is visible in these maps as recognisable patterns or visual objects. Measurements can be readily made with conventional statistics. The literature in gastroenterology is full of descriptions of motility based on indirect methods of recordings. In this project we will be able to correlate the previous indirect methods with the new graphic methods and thus establish a clearer, simpler and more accurate classification of normal patterns of intestinal motility. We will then use this to establish what goes wrong in a number of experimental diseases known to affect adversely the movements of the intestine.

Funding Amount $AUD 358,750.00

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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