Updated: 4/4/2015

Small Intestinal Motility

Review Topic
  • Small intestinal motility
    • functions
      • digestion and absorption of nutrients
        • mixes the chyme with digestive enzymes and pancreatic secretions
        • exposes nutrients to the intestinal mucosa for absorption
        • propels unabsorbed chyme along gastrointestinal tract to the large intestine
    • small intestinal contractions
      • segmentation contractions
        • a section of small intestine contracts
          • splits the chyme and sends chyme in both directions
        • a section of small intestine then relaxes
          • chyme merges back together
        • mix intestinal contents and expose the chyme to pancreatic enzymes and secretions
          • does not propel the chyme along the gastrointestinal tract
      • peristaltic contractions
        • a section of small intestine contracts behind the chyme
        • simultaneously, a section of small intestine relaxes ahead of the chyme
        • propel intestinal contents along gastrointestinal tract to large intestine
    • migrating myoelectric complexes (MMCs)
      • periods of small intestinal contractions that occur during the fasting state
        • clear the small intestine of any residual contents
        • occur at 90-minute intervals
        • mediated by motilin
          • motilin receptor agonists are used therapeutically to stimulate intestinal peristalsis

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