Gastrointestinal Smooth Muscle Mechanical Behaviour and Neural Circuits

  • Hans Gregersen


The motor function of the gastrointestinal tract remains an empirically realised activity, incomprehensible and unpredictable to a high degree in comparison to other areas of systemic physiology. A useful scheme of the working organisation of the whole system could provide a theory to be used both to interpret the variety of normal or usual behaviours and to predict responses to exceptional conditions. Our ignorance about gastrointestinal motor physiology allows only the most superficial interpretations and predictions in health and disease. The empiricism surrounding gastrointestinal motility derives from the complexity of the biological and the physical processes, both the muscle and the mechanics. The peristaltic transport of material in the gastrointestinal tract is a neuromuscular function affected by a number of factors. The nervous system controls the twitch topology, frequency and time sequence. The intrinsic muscle mechanics, with its length-tension-velocity characteristics, complements the nervous function.


Irritable Bowel Syndrome Neural Circuit Phasic Contraction Tonic Contraction Passive Tension 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Gregersen
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Sensory-Motor Interaction, Laboratory for Gastrointestinal Biomechanics and Sensory-Motor Funtion, Department of Surgical Gastroenterology, Aalborg HospitalAalborg UniversityDenmark

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