Intestinal Motility

a computer simulation of experiments to demonstrate the effects of drugs on colonic peristalsis

David Dewhurst, Helen Leathard and Stewart Cromar


This program is designed to simulate experiments which may be performed on an isolated preparation of rat colon to study intestinal motility. Peristalsis in the rat colon differs in detail, but not in principle, from that in human colon, or indeed from small intestinal peristalsis.

The Tutorial section program explains, using animations and high quality graphics the mechanism of peristalsis and the excitatory and inhibitory nervous pathways which influence it.

Methods and Materials describes with the aid of diagrams the apparatus, the method of administering control and test agents and how the peristaltic reflex test is performed. The effects of these procedures on longitudinal muscle tension (g) and fluid propulsion from a drop counter (number of drops over time) are also explained.

Experiments allows the user to see the effects of physiological stimuli (activation of the peristaltic reflex by distension of the colon with saline) and of the following automotive pharmacological agents either administered alone or in combination:

  • saline (control)
  • atropine
  • neostigmine
  • acetylcholine
  • carbachol
  • epinephrine

Self-assessment: each experiment is accompanied by a series of true/false questions designed to assess studentŐs interpretation of the displayed results and their understanding of the underlying pharmacological mechanisms.


Language Versions: English

Recommended System Requirements:

  • Windows:
    • Microsoft Windows XP (32 bit), Windows Server 2003 (32-bit), Windows Server 2008 (32 bit), Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows 7 (32 bit and 64 bit), Windows 8
    • 2.33GHz or faster x86-compatible processor, or Intel Atom 1.6GHz or faster processor for netbooks
    • 128MB of RAM (1GB of RAM recommended for netbooks); 128MB of graphics memory
    • Internet Explorer 7.0 or later, Mozilla Firefox 4.0 or later, Google Chrome, Safari 5.0 or later, or Opera 11
  • Mac OS:
    • Mac OS X v10.6, v10.7, or v10.8
    • Intel Core Duo 1.83GHz or faster processor
    • 256MB of RAM; 128MB of graphics memory
    • Safari 5.0 or later, Mozilla Firefox 4.0 or later, Google Chrome, or Opera 11

Target Audience: Undergraduate students of pharmacology, medicine, pharmacy, bio/medical sciences in which pharmacology is a significant component.

Price: £250 (multiuser, educational license)

ISBN 1-874758-13-1
©2008 Sheffield Bioscience Programs

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