Peristalsis is the main postprandial propulsive activity of the gut. It is mediated by neurons of the enteric nervous system, which form an integrated circuit composed of sensory neurons, modulatory interneurons, and motor neurons to the circular and longitudinal muscle layers. Work outlined in this review has identified, by anatomic, physiologic, and pharmacologic techniques, the myenteric neurons and neurotransmitters involved in the regulation of this reflex. Of particular note are studies identifying the role of 5-hydroxytryptamine4 (5-HT4) receptors in the initiation of the peristaltic reflex and the development of selective 5-HT4 agonists as potential therapeutic agents.
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