Gastric emptying of ordinary food: effect of antrum on particle size

Am J Physiol. 1980 Sep;239(3):G133-5. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.1980.239.3.G133.


The lack of reliably quantitative methods has delayed understanding how the stomach empties and processes foods. Rapid refinement of gamma cameras has prompted the development of several methods for labeling of ordinary foods with radionuclides. These methods allow rapid labeling with tightly adherent nuclides and are safe for studies both in animals and humans. Nuclide-labeled foods have also permitted detailed analyses of gastric emptying in animals prepared with chronic duodenal fistulas. Early results indicate that the stomach retains foods until these are fragmented into particles smaller than 0.5 mm in diameter, and that this sieving is achieved in the antral region of the stomach. The speed of fragmentation of foods into particles of this size as well as the speed of emptying appear to be closely regulated by chemoceptive mechanisms in the small intestine, which can inhibit these processes. Thus, chemical composition of the meal regulates gastric emptying as well as the physical nature of the food, which determines how easily it can be fragmented by the stomach.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Food*
  • Gastric Emptying*
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Small / physiology
  • Particle Size
  • Pyloric Antrum / physiology*
  • Radionuclide Imaging / methods