Characteristics of myoelectrical activities along the small intestine and their responses to test meals of different glycemic index in rats

Yi Liu, Feng Ye, Sujuan Zhang, Shiying Li, Jiande Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to characterize intestinal myoelectrical activity along the small intestine and investigate its responses to test meals with different glycemic index at different locations. Sixteen rats were implanted with electrodes in the serosal surface of the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. Intestinal myoelectrical activities were recorded from these electrodes for 30 min in the fasting state and 3 h after four kinds of meals with different glycemic index, together with the assessment of blood glucose. The results were as follows: 1) in the fasting state, the percentage of normal intestinal slow waves (%NISW) showed no difference; however, the dominant frequency (DF), power (DP), and percentage of spike activity superimposed on the intestinal slow wave (NS/M) were progressively decreased along the entire small intestine; 2) regular solid meal and Ensure solicited no changes in any parameters of intestinal myoelectrical activity; whereas glucose and glucose + glucagon significantly altered the %NISW, DF, DP, and NS/M, and the effects on the proximal intestine were opposite to those in the distal intestine; and 3) postprandial blood glucose level was significantly correlated with %NISW along the entire small intestine. We found that that, in addition to the well-known frequency gradient, there is also a gradual decrease in the DP and spikes along the small intestine in the fasting state. Glucose and hyperglycemic meals inhibit myoelectrical activities in the proximal small intestine but result in enhanced but more dysrhythmic intestinal myoelectrical activities. There is a significant negative correlation between the normality of intestinal slow waves and blood glucose.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R997-R1003
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Gastrointestinal motility
  • Glycemic index
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Pace-making activity
  • Slow waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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