Studying Murine Small Bowel Mechanosensing of Luminal Particulates

Arnaldo Mercado-Perez, Andrew Wegner, Kaitlyn Knutson, Michael Zumchak, Arthur Beyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gastrointestinal (GI) motility is critical for normal digestion and absorption. In the small bowel, which absorbs nutrients, motility optimizes digestion and absorption. For this reason, some of the motility patterns in the small bowel include segmentation for mixing of luminal contents and peristalsis for their propulsion. Physical properties of luminal contents modulate the patterns of small bowel motility. The mechanical stimulation of GI mechanosensory circuits by transiting luminal contents and underlying gut motility initiate and modulate complex GI motor patterns. Yet, the mechanosensory mechanisms that drive this process remain poorly understood. This is primarily due to a lack of tools to dissect how the small bowel handles materials of different physical properties. To study how the small bowel handles particulates of varying sizes, we have modified an established in vivo method to determine small bowel transit. We gavage live mice with fluorescent liquid or tiny fluorescent beads. After 30 minutes, we dissect out the bowels to image the distribution of fluorescent contents across the entirety of the GI tract. In addition to high-resolution measurements of the geometric center, we use variable size binning and spectral analysis to determine how different materials affect small bowel transit. We have explored how a recently discovered "gut touch" mechanism affects small bowel motility using this approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere63697
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number181
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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