Normal Colonic Motor Function and Structure

  • Philip K. Frykman
  • Stephanie Chen
  • Deven C. Patel
  • James Christensen


This chapter reviews the anatomy and histology of the human colon and draws on the comparative studies of multiple species to highlight key anatomic features and mechanistic details of colonic motility. An in-depth discussion of the smooth muscle of the colon is presented along with the contribution of extrinsic and intrinsic neural pathways to the uniquely complex motility of the large intestine. The patterns of colonic peristaltic contractions are reviewed in relationship to the electrical slow waves, pacemaking function, and intrinsic reflexes. Lastly, integrated motor functions of the anorectum such as continence and defecation are discussed along with the emerging importance of the gut-brain axis in colonic motility.


Colon anatomy Colonic histology Colonic motility Electrical slow waves Myenteric plexus Rectoanal inhibitory reflex RAIR Continence Defecation Comparative anatomy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip K. Frykman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stephanie Chen
    • 2
  • Deven C. Patel
    • 2
  • James Christensen
    • 3
  1. 1.Pacific Coast Pediatric SurgeryThousand OaksUSA
  2. 2.Division of Pediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical CenterLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa Carver College of MedicineIowa CityUSA

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