UNIT 21.8 Assessment of Gastrointestinal Motility Using Three Different Assays In Vitro

  1. Cristina Pozzoli,
  2. Enzo Poli

Published Online: 1 NOV 2010

DOI: 10.1002/0471140856.tx2108s46

Current Protocols in Toxicology

Current Protocols in Toxicology

How to Cite

Pozzoli, C. and Poli, E. 2010. Assessment of Gastrointestinal Motility Using Three Different Assays In Vitro. Current Protocols in Toxicology. 46:21.8:21.8.1–21.8.33.

Author Information

  1. University of Parma Medical School, Parma, Italy

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 NOV 2010
  2. Published Print: NOV 2010


The protocols detailed in this unit are designed to assess the motor activity of different gastric and intestinal muscle preparations in vitro and the effects of drugs that modulate gastrointestinal motility. The preparations described are characterized by different contractile behaviors, consisting of spontaneous (duodenum), neurogenic (ileum), and drug-stimulated (fundus, ileum) motility; these reproduce motility patterns occurring in the gut wall in vivo. These protocols document the variety of factors that can influence the responses of isolated tissues and describe how such tissues can be used for testing substances that affect gut movements. These preparations allow evaluation of direct interactions with the processes that control contractile machinery, as well as indirect effects resulting from the modification of neurotransmitter release from myenteric neurons. These models can be exploited to assay novel compounds undergoing preclinical development or to evaluate the functional toxicity exerted by environmental or alimentary pollutants, like xenobiotics and naturally occurring toxins, as well as the mechanisms underlying these effects.Curr. Protoc. Toxicol. 46:21.8.1-21.8.33. © 2010 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • gastrointestinal tract;
  • smooth muscle contraction;
  • duodenal motility;
  • guinea pig ileum;
  • electrical field stimulus;
  • gastric fundus;
  • spasmolytic activity