Rhythmic oscillating complexes in gastrointestinal tract of chickens: A role for motilin

A. Rodríguez-Sinovas, M. Jiménez, P. De Clercq, T. L. Peeters, P. Vergara

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    Rhythmic oscillating complex (ROC) is a highly organized gastrointestinal motility pattern recently described in fasted avian species. ROCs show several high-speed aboradpropagated contractions that progressively change into others of orad direction. In addition, chickens show migrating motor complexes (MMC) in both fed and fasting states. Recently, motilin was isolated and characterized from chicken small intestine. Accordingly, the aim of this study was to learn whether chicken motilin might be involved in either ROC or MMC induction. Electromyographic recordings were obtained from different areas of the gastrointestinal tract of chickens while motilin was infused. The response to chicken motilin was dose dependent in both fed and fasted animals; a bolus of 4 x 10-11 mol/kg (n = 5) did not modify the intestinal motor pattern, whereas 4 x 10-10 and 4 x 10-9 mol/kg (n = 5 each) induced a complete ROC pattern of 5.2 ± 0.6 and 10.8 ± 0.9 min, respectively. ROCs induced by chicken motilin presented exactly the same pattern as that described during a spontaneous ROC. Furthermore, motilin concentration in plasma, measured by radioimmunoassay, increased during a spontaneous ROC. This study suggests that chicken motilin triggers an ROC in chickens. The fact that plasma motilin levels increased during spontaneous ROC strongly suggests that motilin is involved in the induction of the ROC pattern. Motilin seems to play a different role in avian and mammalian species, because a phase III of the MMC was never induced by motilin infusion.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)G916-G922
    JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology (Gastrointestin Liver Physiol.)
    Issue number0
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 1997


    • circadian rhythms
    • migrating motor complexes
    • small intestine


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