Fluorescence imaging in vivo visualizes delayed gastric emptying of liquid enteral nutrition containing pectin

BMC Gastroenterol. 2014 Sep 27;14:168. doi: 10.1186/1471-230X-14-168.


Background: Semi-solidification by gelation or increased viscosity could slow the influx of liquid enteral nutrition (EN) into the small intestine. A liquid EN formula containing pectin that gels under acidic conditions such as those found in the stomach has been developed. A new near-infrared fluorescent imaging reagent was used to non-invasively acquire real time images of gastric emptying in a murine model in vivo. We postulated that the EN formula delays gastric emptying and tested this hypothesis using imaging in vivo.

Methods: Male BALB/c mice were given an oral bolus injection of a liquid EN containing the fluorescence reagent GastroSense750 with or without pectin. The EN in the stomach was visualized in vivo at various intervals using a non-invasive live imaging system and fluorescent signals were monitored from the stomach, which was removed at 60 min after EN ingestion.

Results: The fluorescence intensity of signals in stomachs in vivo and in resected stomachs was lower and attenuated over time in mice given EN without, than with pectin.

Conclusions: Adding a gelling agent such as pectin delayed the transit of liquid EN from the stomach. Fluorescence imaging can visualize the delayed gastric emptying of EN containing pectin.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidiarrheals / pharmacology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Enteral Nutrition*
  • Fluorescent Dyes*
  • Gastric Emptying / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Optical Imaging / methods
  • Pectins / pharmacology*


  • Antidiarrheals
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Pectins