Migrating motor complex
Migrating motor complexes (or migrating myoelectric complex or migratory motor complex or migratory myoelectric complex or MMC) are waves of electrical activity that sweep through the intestines in a regular cycle during fasting. These motor complexes trigger peristaltic waves, which facilitate transportation of indigestible substances such as bone, fiber, and foreign bodies from the stomach, through the small intestine, past the ileocecal sphincter, and into the colon. The MMC occurs every 45–180 minutes during the interdigestive phase (i.e., between meals) and is responsible for the rumbling experienced when hungry. It also serves to transport bacteria from the small intestine to the large intestine and to inhibit the migration of colonic bacteria into the terminal ileum.
- Phase I – A prolonged period of quiescence (40-60% of total time);
- Phase II – Increased frequency of action potentials and smooth muscle contractility (20-30% of total time);
- Phase III – A few minutes of peak electrical and mechanical activity (5-10 minutes);
- Phase IV – Declining activity which merges with the next Phase I.
Trimebutine is one drug that as part of its therapeutic action causes a premature activation of phase III of the migrating motor complex in the digestive tract.
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