Effects of ursodeoxycholic acid in esophageal motility and the role of the mucosa. An experimental study

Dis Esophagus. 2011 May;24(4):291-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-2050.2010.01137.x. Epub 2010 Nov 18.


Esophageal motor abnormalities are frequently found in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease. The role of bile in reflux-induced dysmotility is still elusive. Furthermore, it is questionable weather mucosal or muscular stimulation leads to motor dysfunction. The aims of this study were to analyze (i) the effect of bile in the amplitude of esophageal contractions; and (ii) the effect of mucosal versus muscular stimulation. Eighteen guinea pig esophagi were isolated, and its contractility assessed with force transducers. Three groups were studied. In group A (n= 6), the entire esophagus was incubated in 100 µmL ursodeoxycholic acid for 1 hour; in group B (n= 6) the mucosal layer was removed and the muscular layer incubated in 100 µmL ursodeoxycholic acid for 1 hour; and in group C (n= 6) (control group) the entire esophagus was incubated in saline solution. In all groups, five sequential contractions induced by 40 mm KCl spaced by 5 minutes were measured before and after incubation. Contractions amplitudes before incubation were 1.319 g, 0.306 g, and 1.795 g, for groups A, B, and C, respectively. There were no differences between groups A and C (P= 0.633), but there were differences between groups A and B (P= 0.039), and B and C (P= 0.048). After incubation amplitude of contraction were 0.709 g, 0.278 g, and 1.353 g for groups A, B, and C, respectively. Only group A showed difference when pre and post-stimulation amplitudes were compared (P= 0.030). Our results show that (i) bile exposure decreases esophageal contraction amplitude; and (ii) the esophageal mucosa seems to play an important role in esophageal motility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Esophageal Motility Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Esophagus / physiology*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology*
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / drug effects
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / physiology*
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Male
  • Mucous Membrane / physiology*
  • Peristalsis / physiology*
  • Ursodeoxycholic Acid / pharmacology
  • Ursodeoxycholic Acid / physiology*


  • Ursodeoxycholic Acid