Gastric motility

00:00 / 00:00


Gastric motility


0 / 51 complete

High Yield Notes

16 pages


Gastric motility

of complete


When we eat food, it’s first chewed up in the mouth and mixes with saliva to form a mushy mass called a bolus, and then it travels down a muscular tube called the esophagus.

Next, it enters the stomach through the lower esophageal sphincter, which is a ring of muscle surrounding an opening.

The stomach has three main parts: the fundus, the body and the antrum.

The body is further divided into a proximal portion and a distal portion.

The fundus, and proximal body make up the orad region, or top half of the stomach.

The distal body and the antrum make up the caudad region or bottom half of the stomach.

Once the food bolus is partially digested in the stomach, it’s called chyme and it passes through the pyloric sphincter and into the duodenum, which is the first part of the small intestine.

The pancreas is connected to the duodenum through the pancreatic duct, and it secretes many digestive enzymes to further break down food.

All these part play a role in gastric motility which is the contraction of the stomach to break up food and move it into the intestine.

Like other parts of the gastrointestinal tract, the stomach has 4 layers.

Starting from the innermost layer to the outermost layer, these layers are the mucosa, submucosa, muscularis externa, and serosa.

The mucosa and muscularis externa layers are modified in the stomach.

The mucosa contains various glands filled with different cells that secrete the components of gastric juice.

In the body of the stomach, there are parietal cells that secrete hydrochloric acid or HCl, a strong acid that helps to break down protein, and chief cells that secrete pepsinogen, an inactive enzyme.

When pepsinogen is exposed to HCl it activates to becomes pepsin - an enzyme that helps break down proteins.

In the antrum, there are mucous cells which secrete mucus which protects the stomach lining from the acidic environment. There are also G cells which secrete a hormone called gastrin.


Gastric motility is the coordinated movement of the muscles and secretions of the stomach. This coordinated activity propels food and drink through the stomach and comprises three main phases. First, there is receptive relaxation characterized by the relaxation of lower esophageal sphincter, to let food pass through into the stomach. Next, there is secretion in which the gastric juice is released in the stomach, and peristalsis helps to mix contents and break apart food particles. Finally, there is gastric emptying which occurs when food leaves the stomach and goes into the duodenum.


  1. "Medical Physiology" Elsevier (2016)
  2. "Physiology" Elsevier (2017)
  3. "Human Anatomy & Physiology" Pearson (2018)
  4. "Principles of Anatomy and Physiology" Wiley (2014)
  5. "Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: History, Pathophysiology, Clinical Features, and Rome IV" Gastroenterology (2016)
  6. "Cholecystokinin corticostriatal pathway in the rat: Evidence for bilateral origin from medial prefrontal cortical areas" Neuroscience (1994)

Copyright © 2023 Elsevier, its licensors, and contributors. All rights are reserved, including those for text and data mining, AI training, and similar technologies.

Cookies are used by this site.

USMLE® is a joint program of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). COMLEX-USA® is a registered trademark of The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, Inc. NCLEX-RN® is a registered trademark of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. Test names and other trademarks are the property of the respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are endorsed by nor affiliated with Osmosis or this website.