A simple automated approach to measure mouse whole gut transit

Halil Kacmaz, Alecia Alto, Kaitlyn Knutson, David R. Linden, Simon J. Gibbons, Gianrico Farrugia, Arthur Beyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Gastrointestinal (GI) motility is a complex physiological process that is critical for normal GI function. Disruption of GI motility frequently occurs in GI diseases or as side effects of therapeutics. Whole gut transit measurements, like carmine red leading-edge transit, in mice form the cornerstone of in vivo preclinical GI motility studies. Method: We have developed an easily achievable, labor-saving method to measure whole gut transit time in mice. This approach uses inexpensive, commercially available materials to monitor pellet production over time via high definition cameras capturing time-lapse video for offline analysis. Key Result: We describe the assembly of our automated gut transit setup and validate this approach by comparing the results with loperamide to delay transit and conventional transit measurements. We demonstrate that compared to the control group, the loperamide group had slowed transit, evidenced by a decrease in total pellet production and prolonged whole gut transit time. The control group had an extended transit time compared with the results reported in the literature. Whole gut transit rates accelerated to times comparable to the literature by disrupting cages every 10-15 min to imitate the conventional approach, suggesting that disruption affects the assay and supports the use of an automated approach. Conclusion & Inferences: A novel automated, inexpensive, and easily assembled whole gut transit setup is labor-saving and allows minimal disruption to animal behavior compared with the conventional approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13994
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Gastroenterology


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