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A study of the effects of meal temperature on gastric function


Pre-ruminant calves with gastric (abomasal) and duodenal cannulae were used to assess the effect of test meals of different temperatures on gastric emptying and secretion. Cross-over experiments with saline gastric meals and water duodenal infusate at 4°, 20° and 40° C were carried out. The temperature of the duodenal infusate had no effect of gastric function. Variation in the temperature of the meal resulted in a significant enhancement of gastric emptying at 4° compared with 40°C. Shivering always occurred when 4°C meals were instilled into the stomach and intermittently with 20°C meals, irrespective of the duodenal temperature.

When the heat energy needed to restore the combined meal and infusate temperature to 40°C was evaluated against abomasal function, significant positive correlations were obtained for emptying (P<0.001), acid secretion (P<0.05) and pepsinogen output (P<0.01).

It can be concluded that gastric emptying and secretion is stimulated to some degree by cold meals. The onset of shivering following the introduction of cold fluid into the stomach indicates that gastric thermoreceptors are concerned in the whole gamut of thermoregulatory control which probably includes enhancement of gastric function.

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Webber, D.E., Nouri, M. & Bell, F.R. A study of the effects of meal temperature on gastric function. Pflugers Arch. 384, 65–68 (1980).

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Key words

  • Gastric emptying
  • Gastric secretion
  • Thermostasis
  • Thermoreceptors