The effect of motilin on lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) pressure has been studied in unanesthetised specially trained dogs using an infusion manometric technique. Motilin produced significant rises in resting pressure and contractions of the LES after doses ranging from 0-009 mug/kg to 0-05 mug/kg. Doses greater than 0-05 mug/kg resulted in repetitive high amplitude contractions. Atropine 30 mug/kg completely abolished the effect of the lower doses of motilin. Higher doses of motilin in atropinised dogs still caused a small rise in baseline pressure and contractile activity still appeared. Hexamethonium 2 mg/kg resulted in both a diminished rise in LES pressure and the disappearance of contractions after motilin. Hexamethonium and atropine together completely abolished the LES response to motilin. We conclude that motilin increases LES pressure by acting on preganglionic cholinergic neurones to release acetylcholine which excites other cholinergic neurones supplying the circular muscle of the LES.
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