1. The effect of surgical transection and reunion of the small bowel on its pacesetter potenial (PP) frequency gradient was studied over periods of 3 months in six conscious, healthy dogs, using fourteen platinum electrodes previously implanted along the bowel. 2. Duodenal transection and reunion abolished the gradient of the pacesetter potential distal to the transection and this effect persisted throughout 3 months of observation. 3. In dogs with two transections, one in the duodenum and another in the mid small bowel, the mid small bowel transection and reunion further reduced the frequency of the PP caudad to it and this effect also persisted throughout the 3 months of observation. 4. We conclude that the gradient in intact bowel occurs because the frequency of the duodenal pace‐maker is considerably more rapid than the natural frequency of the PP in the rest of the bowel, and because the bowel is composed of collections or populations of smooth muscle cells with differing natural or intrinsic PP frequencies arranged in a progression of diminishing frequencies from orad to caudad location. The natural frequency of a segment is unmasked by transection of the bowel just orad to it because this eliminates the influence or drive of the orad pace‐maker. The findings are in agreement with the concept that in intact bowel, as the PP passes caudadward, distal populations of cells are eventually encountered which cannot follow the faster orad pacesetter because of the slowness of their natural frequency. Thus, during caudad passage, some cycles of the PP are not transmitted and this, occurring over the length of the bowel, accounts in part, at least, for the gradient of frequency of PP over the small bowel.
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