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1.0 INTRODUCTION Intestinal motility is the spontaneous rhythmic and alternate contractions and relaxations at a remarkably regular frequency of the intestine caused by the inherent contractile elements of the visceral smooth muscles that line the walls of the intestinal track. The major part of the smooth muscle of the gastro intestinal tract is made up of a thick circular layer and a much thinner longitudinal layer. The circular layer is responsible for most of the visible intestinal movements. In this project, isolated tissue preparation was used to examine the effect of plantain (Musa paradisiaca) on the intestinal motility of Rabbit.

1.1 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND The study of intestinal motility started as far back as the 17th century. Literature on this subject shows that it is one whose history has been characterised by a lot of differences in facts and opinions, among investigators. This is what led people like Bayliss and starting to write the following statement that: ‘’on no subject in physiology do we meet with so many discrepancies of fact and opinion as in that of the physiology of the intestinal movements. Among factors contributing to such discrepancies must doubtless be included the varying behaviour of the intestine in different animals, the varying conditions of the animal with regard to feeding or intestine’’. Dr. William Beamount (1933) used for his human studies Alexis St. Martin, a French Canadian who, on June 6, 1822, had been wounded in the upper region of the abdomen by bullets and so, a fistula was left which enabled Beaumount to look at the man’s stomach and observe its contents and movements. Contraction and relaxation of bands of muscles great variety of motion was induced’’. Haffer, in 1854 was the first to use isolated segments of intestine, in 1854 was the first to use isolated segments of intestine, contracting in a tiny bath of warm, oxygenated Locke’s solution, for physiological studies, but magnus modified the method in 1904 and popularized it for the study of contractile functions, consequently, the method became popularlay known as magnus method. Ludwig, publishing in the second volume of the Lehbuch der physiologie des menschen, in 1861 described the motor action of the small bowel as consisting of either single contractions, limited to one site, or coordinated movements. The latter movements he stated, could be divided either into recurring, stationary, rhythmic, and circular contractions or progressive contractions. The progressive contractions were described as moving either from the proximal to the distal end (peristalsis’’) or from the distal to the proximal below upward (antiperistalsis). Legros and Onimus (1869) recognized the difference in rate of rhythmic contractions in the upper and lower small bowel of the dog. In the duodenum they observed arrate of 18 contractions per minute and 11 or 12 contractions per minute in lower ileum. It was some forty-five years later that Alvarez demonstrated the ‘’gradient’’ of rhythmic contractions in the small bowel of rabbit.

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