1. 1.

    Inflation of the cardiac stomach of the rainbow trout induced reflex muscular contractions. The stomach then slowly relaxed asymptotically towards its maximum volume. Continued distension caused the stomach to become compliant and this was irreversible within the time course of each experiment (8h). Repeated periods of rest and distension revealed a short-term inhibition of reflex contractions which recovered as resting periods were extended. Sectioning the vagosympathetic trunk did not influence the response to distension. Similar responses occurred in isolated, perfused stomachs.

  2. 2.

    Both tetrodotoxin and atropine plus methysergide induced immediate compliance, suggesting that it was caused by the blockade of enteric excitatory neurones. Atropine alone primarily reduced reflex contractions whilst methysergide completed this suppression and induced profound gastric relaxation.

  3. 3.

    Somatostatin reversibly suppressed reflex contractions whilst vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) induced gastric relaxation.

  4. 4.

    A model is proposed in which distension initially causes reflex activity via cholinergic and serotonergic nerves, whilst gastric tone remains high. Somatostatin then suppresses rhythmic contractions, whilst VIP suppresses the tryptaminergic mechanisms that maintain gastric tone.

  5. 5.

    The rainbow trout stomach possesses intrinsic mechanisms that mimic the extrinsic, nerve-controlled ‘receptive relaxation’ or ‘accommodation’ that follows feeding in higher vertebrates.

This content is only available via PDF.