Esophageal and Gastric Function

  • Ayah Oglat
  • Eamonn M. M. QuigleyEmail author
Part of the Clinical Gastroenterology book series (CG)


As elsewhere in the gastrointestinal tract, the anatomy, morphology, and physiology of the esophagus and stomach are adapted and designed to subserve their respective functions. Thus, the esophagus transports the food bolus from the posterior pharynx to the stomach and at the same time protects the airway and minimizes gastroesophageal reflux. The stomach then relaxes to accommodate the meal and thereafter ensures the timely and coordinated delivery of the meal to the small intestine in a format that optimizes digestive activity there. These complex and highly integrated functions are based on the intrinsic electrophysiological properties of the esophagogastric musculature and the local regulatory and modulatory role of the enteric nervous system with input from the central nervous system via the autonomic nerves.


Esophagus Stomach Lower esophageal sphincter Acid reflux Accommodation Gastric emptying Myenteric plexus Gut smooth muscle 





Central nervous system


Gastroesophageal reflux disease


Human immunodeficiency virus


Lower esophageal sphincter


Migrating motor complex


Transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxation


Upper esophageal sphincter


  1. 1.
    Alvarez Herrero L, Curvers WL, van Vilsteren FG, Wolfsen H, Ragunath K, Wong Kee Song LM, et al. Validation of the Prague C&M classification of Barrett's esophagus in clinical practice. Endoscopy. 2013;45:876–82.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Miller L, Clavé P, Farré R, Lecea B, Ruggieri MR, Ouyang A, et al. Physiology of the upper segment, body, and lower segment of the esophagus. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2013;1300:261–77.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hershcovici T, Mashimo H, Fass R. The lower esophageal sphincter. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2011;23:819–30.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Di Pilato V, Freschi G, Ringressi MN, Pallecchi L, Rossolini GM, Bechi P. The esophagealmicrobiota in health and disease. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2016;1381:21–33.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hunt RH, Yaghoobi M. The esophageal and gastric microbiome in health and disease. Gastroenterol Clin N Am. 2017;46:121–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Snider EJ, Freedberg DE, Abrams JA. Potential role of the microbiome in Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma. Dig Dis Sci. 2016;61:2217–25.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Weinbrand-Goichberg J, Segal I, Ovadia A, Levine A, Dalal I. Eosinophilic esophagitis: an immune-mediated esophageal disease. Immunol Res. 2013;56:249–60.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Wilcox CM, Karowe MW. Esophageal infections: etiology, diagnosis, and management. Gastroenterologist. 1994;2:188–206.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Cassone A, Cauda R. Candida and candidiasis in HIV-infected patients: where commensalism, opportunistic behavior and frank pathogenicity lose their borders. AIDS. 2012;26:1457–72.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Greenwood-Van Meerveld B, Johnson AC, Grundy D. Gastrointestinal physiology and function. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2017;239:1–16.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Quigley EMM. Gastrointestinal functions. In: Reference module in neuroscience and biobehavioral psychology. New York: Elsevier Science; 2017. p. 1–8.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Quigley EMM. Gastric motor and sensory function and motor disorders of the stomach. In: Feldman F, Friedman LS, Sleisenger MH, editors. Gastrointestinal and liver disease. Pathophysiology/diagnosis/management. 7th ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders; 2002. p. 691–714.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Janssen P, Vanden Berghe P, Verschueren S, Lehmann A, Depoortere I, Tack J. Review article: the role of gastric motility in the control of food intake. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2011;33:880–94.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Holtmann G, Talley NJ. The stomach-brain axis. Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2014;28:967–79.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Howick K, Griffin BT, Cryan JF, Schellekens H. From belly to brain: targeting the ghrelin receptor in appetite and food intake regulation. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18:pii:E273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lynda K. and David M. Underwood Center for Digestive Disorders, Division of Gastroenterology and HepatologyHouston Methodist HospitalHoustonUSA

Personalised recommendations