The mechanism of motilin excitation of the canine small intestine
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Close intraarterial injections of motilin to the small intestine of the anaesthetized dog produce prolonged phasic contractions. Tetrodotoxin infused intraarterially blocked field stimulated contractions and abolished the response to motilin as did treatment with a combination of hexamethonium and atropine. Atropine alone increased the dose of motilin required to induce responses. Hexamethonium alone similarly increased the dose of motilin required in the jejunum, but not for the ileum. These results suggest that motilin acts to contract small intestine by stimulation of intrinsic excitatory nerves, some of which are post-ganglionic cholinergic and some of which are not, but are activated by a pathway with a nicotinic synapse. The ED50 for ileal contractions was greater than that for the jejunum and the time to reach maximum contractions longer suggesting a decreased responsiveness of the lower small intestine to motilin as compared to the upper gastrointestinal tract. These results and the lesser quantity of immunoreactive motilin in the ileum than in the jejunum may explain the lack of relationship of the activity front of the migrating motor complex in the lower small intestine to venous motilin concentrations.
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