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BACKGROUND - Gastric slow waves propagate aborally as rings of excitation. Circumferential propagation does not normally occur, except at the pacemaker region. We hypothesized that (i) the unexplained high-velocity, high-amplitude activity associated with the pacemaker region is a consequence of circumferential propagation; (ii) rapid, high-amplitude circumferential propagation emerges during gastric dysrhythmias; (iii) the driving network conductance might switch between interstitial cells of Cajal myenteric plexus (ICC-MP) and circular interstitial cells of Cajal intramuscular (ICC-IM) during circumferential propagation; and (iv) extracellular amplitudes and velocities are correlated.
METHODS - An experimental-theoretical study was performed. High-resolution gastric mapping was performed in pigs during normal activation, pacing, and dysrhythmia. Activation profiles, velocities, and amplitudes were quantified. ICC pathways were theoretically evaluated in a bidomain model. Extracellular potentials were modeled as a function of membrane potentials.
KEY RESULTS - High-velocity, high-amplitude activation was only recorded in the pacemaker region when circumferential conduction occurred. Circumferential propagation accompanied dysrhythmia in 8/8 experiments was faster than longitudinal propagation (8.9 vs 6.9 mm s(-1) ; P = 0.004) and of higher amplitude (739 vs 528 μV; P = 0.007). Simulations predicted that ICC-MP could be the driving network during longitudinal propagation, whereas during ectopic pacemaking, ICC-IM could outpace and activate ICC-MP in the circumferential axis. Experimental and modeling data demonstrated a linear relationship between velocities and amplitudes (P < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS & INFERENCES - The high-velocity and high-amplitude profile of the normal pacemaker region is due to localized circumferential propagation. Rapid circumferential propagation also emerges during a range of gastric dysrhythmias, elevating extracellular amplitudes and organizing transverse wavefronts. One possible explanation for these findings is bidirectional coupling between ICC-MP and circular ICC-IM networks.
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.