Low-amplitude propagated contractile waves: A relevant propulsive mechanism of human colon

G. Bassotti, M. Clementi, E. Antonelli, M. A. Pelli, M. Tonini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Human colonic motility is still poorly understood, especially as far as concerns its propulsive function. Available data refer almost exclusively to the forceful propulsive activity, which is recognized as high-amplitude propagated contractions, the manometric equivalent of mass movements. By contrast, information on less vigorous propulsive contractions is still lacking. Aims. To investigate the presence and behaviour of low-amplitude propagated contractile waves (less than 50 mmHg in amplitude) in the colon of healthy humans during a 24-hour study period. Subjects and Methods. A series of 16 healthy volunteers of both sexes entered the study, and were investigated by a standard technique involving a colonoscopically-positioned manometric catheter. During the study, two standard 1,000 kcal mixed meal and a 450 kcal breakfast were served. The recordings were, therefore, scanned for the presence of low-amplitude propagated contractile waves (waves of less than 50 mmHg in amplitude, propagated over at least three consecutive recording ports), their daily distribution, and their relationship with physiological events. Results. Low-amplitude propagated contractile waves were constantly present in all the tracings, with an average of about 61 events/subject/day and a mean amplitude of about 20 mmHg. More than 80% of these events appeared during the day, with a significant (p

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-40
Number of pages5
JournalDigestive and Liver Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Colon manometry
  • Colon motility
  • Propagated contractions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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