The purpose of this study was to determine the intrinsic functions of the feline pylorus in vitro. The myoelectric and pressure characteristics of the intact pylorus, antrum, and duodenum, free of extrinsic hormonal or neural influences, were studied in an in vitro bath that allowed separation of the bathing medium surrounding the different bowel segments. Basal recordings revealed a zone of tonic high pressure of 28.4 ± 3.5 mmHg (mean ± SEM) at the pylorus. The basal slow wave frequencies in the pylorus and duodenum were 2.8 ± 1.4 and 12.6 ± 0.6 cycles/min, respectively. Spontaneous action potential-associated phasic contractions of the pylorus were noted in 38% of preparations. Enteric nerve stimulation with direct electric current (10 Hz, 1 ms, 10-50 V) applied proximal to the pylorus gave relaxation of the pylorus at the lower voltages and rebound excitation at higher voltages. Electrical stimulation distal to the pylorus yielded phasic contractile pyloric response during the entire stimulus. The duodenal instillation of 0.5 N HCl produced action potential-associated phasic contractions of the pylorus and duodenum but not the antrum. Pyloric responses to electrical stimulation or acidification were abolished by tetrodotoxin (10 -5 M). Bethanechol (10 -6 M) or substance P (10 -7 M) produced a contractile response at the site of stimulation but this response was not transmitted to include adjacent bowel segments. These studies suggest that the pyloric sphincter with its intrinsic reflex properties can be studied in vitro.
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