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Motility of GIT

Motility in the gastrointestinal tract serves two purposes:

1. moving food from the mouth to the anus and
2. mechanically mixing food to break it into uniformly
small particle
• Muscle contractions in the gastrointestinal tract occur
in three general patterns.
• Between meals,
• when the tract is largely empty, a series of contractions
begins in the stomach and
• passes slowly from section to section,
• each taking about 90 minutes to reach the large
• This pattern, known as the migrating motor complex
• is a housekeeping function that sweeps food remnants
and bacteria out of the upper GI tract and into the large
GI Smooth Muscle Contracts Spontaneously

• Most of the gastrointestinal tract is composed of single-unit smooth

muscle, with groups of cells electrically connected by gap junction
• Different regions exhibit different types of contraction.
• Tonic contractions
• that are sustained for minutes or hours occur in some smooth
muscle sphincters and in the anterior portion of the stomach.
• Phasic contractions,
• with contraction-relaxation cycles lasting only a few seconds,
occur in the posterior region of the stomach and in the small

• Cycles of smooth muscle contraction and relaxation are associated
with spontaneous cycles of depolarization and repolarization
known as slow wave potentials (or simply slow waves)
• Slow wave frequency varies by region of the digestive tract,
ranging from 3 waves/min in the stomach to 12 waves/min in the
• Current research indicates that slow waves originate in a network
of cells called the interstitial cells of Cajal (named for the Spanish
neuroanatomist Santiago Ramón y Cajal), or ICCs.
• These modified smooth muscle cells lie between smooth muscle
layers and the intrinsic nerve plexuses, and they may act as an
intermediary between theneurons and smooth muscle
Secretions of GIT

The total volume of GIT secretions is about 6-8 L/day

Secretions arise from specialized cells lining the GI tract,
the pancreas, liver and gallbladder.

GI secretions function to lubricate (water and mucus),

protect (mucus), sterilize (HCl), neutralize (HCO3-), and
digest (enzymes).
• Many of the membrane transporters of the GI tract are
similar to those of the renal tubule.
• The basolateral membrane contains the ubiquitous Na*-
• Cotransporters include the Na+-K+-2Cl+ symporter
(NKCC), Cl+-HCO3+ exchangers, the Na+-H+ exchanger
(NHE), and H+-K+-ATPase.
• Ion channels include Na+, K+, and Cl- channels, such as
the gated Cl- channel known as the cystic brosis
transmembrane conductance regulator, or CFTR chloride
• In cystic fibrosis, an inherited defect causes the CFTR
channel to be defective or absent. As a result,
secretion of Cl+ and fluid ceases, but goblet cells
continue to secrete mucus, resulting in thickened
• In the digestive system, the thick mucus clogs small
pancreatic ducts and prevents digestive enzyme
secretion into the intestine.
Digestion and Absorption
 Digestion is a process essential for the conversion of food
into a small and simple form.
 Mechanical digestion by mastication and swallowing
 Chemical digestion by enzymes

 Absorption is the process of transporting small molecules

from the lumen of the gut into blood stream or lymphatic
Digestion and Absorption

 Small intestine is primary site for digestion and absorption of

 Digestion occurs in the GI lumen by secreted enzymes and
on surface of enterocytes by membrane-bound enzymes.
 Absorption occurs by simple diffusion, facilitated diffusion,
active transport, endocytosis, and paracellular transport.
 Surface area of small intestine is greatly increased by
extensive folding and the projection of fingerlike villi covered
with microvilli.
Motility of the GIT - MOUTH
1. Motility in the mouth
2 types;
a) Chewing or Mastication:
It is reflex in nature
1. Breaks the food into small pieces to be easily
2. Expose food to salivary amylase enzyme, which
begins digestion of starch
3. Help digestion of all types of food especially cellulose
containing food e.g. vegetables