Gut Motility


Normal gastrointestinal motility is critical for the absorption of fluid and nutrients that sustain life.  Coordinated gastrointestinal motility requires communication between the nerve and muscle layers of the gastrointestinal tract, including between different regions of the stomach and intestines and with the central nervous system.

McMaster is home to a renowned center for the study of pacemaker cells in the gut. Groundbreaking research here has resulted in a rapidly advancing knowledge of the role of pacemaker cells (so called interstitial cells of Cajal) play in creating a variety of essential motor patterns in all organs of the gut. Their role in the pathophysiology of smooth muscle function and innervation is intensely scrutinized.

We are interested in the full life cycle of gastrointestinal motility from before birth to the process of aging.  We are asking how prenatal events can influence the development of intestinal nerves and components of the gastrointestinal wall and how environmental influences such as medications and the microbiota might alter the prenatal and postnatal course of development.  We seek to understand the mechanisms of gastrointestinal motility, including the specifics of how different cell types communicate with each other, and how this communication can be influenced by therapeutic agents.  Lastly, we are building a translational research program in which insights into human gastrointestinal motility will be enhanced by both clinical motility testing andnd bench-based investigations.

People working in this area

Related Papers

  • Vagal Fibers Form Associations With Interstitial Cells of Cajal During Fetal Development. -
    Hepworth Kelly L, Wang Xuan-Yu, Huizinga Jan D et al.
    Anat Rec (Hoboken). Link: 26119528
  • The microbiota-gut-brain axis in functional gastrointestinal disorders. -
    De Palma Giada, Collins Stephen M, Bercik Premysl et al.
    Gut Microbes. Link: 24921926
  • The origin of segmentation motor activity in the intestine. -
    Huizinga Jan D, Chen Ji-Hong, Zhu Yong Fang et al.
    Nat Commun. Link: 24561718
  • Interstitial cells of Cajal: update on basic and clinical science. -
    Huizinga Jan D, Chen Ji-Hong, et al.
    Curr Gastroenterol Rep. Link: 24408748
  • Intestinal microbiota influence the early postnatal development of the enteric nervous system. -
    Collins J, Borojevic R, Verdu E F et al.
    Neurogastroenterol Motil. Link: 24329946
  • Altered colonic function and microbiota profile in a mouse model of chronic depression. -
    Park A J, Collins J, Blennerhassett P A et al.
    Neurogastroenterol Motil. Link: 23773726
  • On the origin of rhythmic contractile activity of the esophagus in early achalasia, a clinical case study. -
    Chen Ji-Hong, Wang Xuan-Yu, Liu Louis W C et al.
    Front Neurosci. Link: 23734090

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