The slowing of gastric emptying by four strong acids and three weak acids

J Physiol. 1972 Apr;222(1):187-208. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1972.sp009793.


1. Test meals of 750 ml. water containing a range of concentrations of hydrochloric, nitric, sulphuric, cyclamic (cyclohexylsulphamic), tartaric, L-ascorbic and citric acids were instilled into the stomachs of sixteen healthy subjects.2. The greater the concentration of an acid in the instilled meal, the greater was the volume of meal recovered after a fixed interval.3. For the weak acids, tartaric, ascorbic and citric, the concentrations which gave a recovery of 450 ml., out of the 750 ml. instilled, increased with increase in the molecular weight of the acid.4. For the strong acids, hydrochloric, nitric, sulphuric and cyclamic, the concentrations which gave a recovery of 450 ml., out of the 750 ml. instilled, were approximately equal. These concentrations were less than those for weak acids.5. The strong acids with high molecular weights were slightly more effective in slowing gastric emptying than were those with low molecular weights.6. The approximate equality of effectiveness of nitric, sulphuric and cyclamic acids to hydrochloric acid is attributed to the presence of chloride ion in the duodenal contents. Thus all the strong acids instilled produce an environment of hydrochloric acid around the receptor.7. A model for a duodenal receptor responding to acids is proposed.

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / pharmacology
  • Acids / pharmacology*
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology
  • Butyrates / pharmacology
  • Caproates / pharmacology
  • Chemoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Chlorides / physiology
  • Citrates / pharmacology
  • Cyclamates / pharmacology
  • Depression, Chemical
  • Duodenum / drug effects
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Hydrochloric Acid / pharmacology
  • Lactates / pharmacology
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Chemical
  • Molecular Weight
  • Nitrates / pharmacology
  • Phosphoric Acids / pharmacology
  • Propionates / pharmacology
  • Stomach / drug effects*
  • Sulfuric Acids / pharmacology
  • Tartrates / pharmacology


  • Acetates
  • Acids
  • Butyrates
  • Caproates
  • Chlorides
  • Citrates
  • Cyclamates
  • Lactates
  • Nitrates
  • Phosphoric Acids
  • Propionates
  • Sulfuric Acids
  • Tartrates
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Hydrochloric Acid