Control of colonic motility using electrical stimulation to modulate enteric neural activity.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Electrical stimulation of the enteric nervous system (ENS) is an attractive approach to modify gastrointestinal transit. Colonic motor complexes (CMCs) occur with a periodic rhythm, but the ability to elicit a premature CMC depends, at least in part, upon the intrinsic refractory properties of the ENS, which are presently unknown. The objectives of this study were to record myoelectric complexes (MCs, the electrical correlates of CMCs) in the smooth muscle and 1 ) determine the refractory periods of MCs, 2 ) inform and evaluate closed-loop stimulation to repetitively evoke MCs, and 3 ) identify stimulation methods to suppress MC propagation. We dissected the colon from male and female C57BL/6 mice, preserving the integrity of intrinsic circuitry while removing the extrinsic nerves, and measured properties of spontaneous and evoked MCs in vitro. Hexamethonium abolished spontaneous and evoked MCs, confirming the necessary involvement of the ENS for electrically evoked MCs. Electrical stimulation reduced the mean interval between evoked and spontaneous CMCs (24.6 ± 3.5 vs. 70.6 ± 15.7 s, P = 0.0002, n = 7). The absolute refractory period was 4.3 s (95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.8-5.7 s, R2 = 0.7315, n = 8). Electrical stimulation applied during fluid distention-evoked MCs led to an arrest of MC propagation, and following stimulation, MC propagation resumed at an increased velocity (n = 9). The timing parameters of electrical stimulation increased the rate of evoked MCs and the duration of entrainment of MCs, and the refractory period provides insight into timing considerations for designing neuromodulation strategies to treat colonic dysmotility.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Maintained physiological distension of the isolated mouse colon induces rhythmic cyclic myoelectric complexes (MCs). MCs evoked repeatedly by closed-loop electrical stimulation entrain MCs more frequently than spontaneously occurring MCs. Electrical stimulation delivered at the onset of a contraction temporarily suppresses the propagation of MC contractions. Controlled electrical stimulation can either evoke MCs or temporarily delay MCs in the isolated mouse colon, depending on timing relative to ongoing activity.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Barth, BB; Travis, L; Spencer, NJ; Grill, WM

Published Date

  • April 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 320 / 4

Start / End Page

  • G675 - G687

PubMed ID

  • 33624530

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8238160

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1522-1547

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0193-1857

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1152/ajpgi.00463.2020


  • eng