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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

ISSN Print: 0278-940X
ISSN Online: 1943-619X

Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevBiomedEng.v38.i3.10
pages 225-254

Multiscale Modeling of Gastrointestinal Electrophysiology and Experimental Validation

Peng Du
Auckland Bioengineering Institute, The University of Auckland, New Zealand
Greg O'Grady
Auckland Bioengineering Institute, and Department of Surgery, The University of Auckland, New Zealand
John B. Davidson
Auckland Bioengineering Institute, The University of Auckland, New Zealand
Leo K. Cheng
Auckland Bioengineering Institute, The University of Auckland, New Zealand
Andrew J. Pullan
Auckland Bioengineering Institute, Department of Engineering Science, The University of Auckland, New Zealand; and 4Department of Surgery, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA

ABSTRACT

Normal gastrointestinal (GI) motility results from the coordinated interplay of multiple cooperating mechanisms, both intrinsic and extrinsic to the GI tract. A fundamental component of this activity is an omnipresent electrical activity termed slow waves, which is generated and propagated by the interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs). The role of ICC loss and network degradation in GI motility disorders is a significant area of ongoing research. This review examines recent progress in the multiscale modeling framework for effectively integrating a vast range of experimental data in GI electrophysiology, and outlines the prospect of how modeling can provide new insights into GI function in health and disease. The review begins with an overview of the GI tract and its electrophysiology, and then focuses on recent work on modeling GI electrical activity, spanning from cell to body biophysical scales. Mathematical cell models of the ICCs and smooth muscle cell are presented. The continuum framework of monodomain and bidomain models for tissue and organ models are then considered, and the forward techniques used to model the resultant body surface potential and magnetic field are discussed. The review then outlines recent progress in experimental support and validation of modeling, and concludes with a discussion on potential future research directions in this field.