Pan-alimentary assessment of motility, luminal content, and structures: an MRI-based framework

Davide Bertoli, Esben B. Mark, Donghua Liao, Christina Brock, Birgitte Brock, Filip Krag Knop, Klaus Krogh, Jens Brøndum Frøkjær, Asbjørn Drewes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Gastrointestinal symptoms originating from different segments overlap and complicate diagnosis and treatment. In this study, we aimed to develop and test a pan-alimentary framework for the evaluation of gastrointestinal (GI) motility and different static endpoints based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) without contrast agents or bowel preparation.

Methods: Twenty healthy volunteers (55.6 ± 10.9 years, BMI 30.8 ± 9.2 kg/m2) underwent baseline and post-meal MRI scans at multiple time points. From the scans, the following were obtained: Gastric segmental volumes and motility, emptying half time (T50), small bowel volume and motility, colonic segmental volumes, and fecal water content. Questionnaires to assess GI symptoms were collected between and after MRI scans.

Key results: We observed an increase in stomach and small bowel volume immediately after meal intake from baseline values (p<.001 for the stomach and p=.05 for the small bowel). The volume increase of the stomach primarily involved the fundus (p<.001) in the earliest phase of digestion with a T50 of 92.1 ± 35.3 min. The intake of the meal immediately elicited a motility increase in the small bowel (p<.001). No differences in colonic fecal water content between baseline and 105 min were observed.

Conclusion & inferences: We developed a framework for a pan-alimentary assessment of GI endpoints and observed how different dynamic and static physiological endpoints responded to meal intake. All endpoints aligned with the current literature for individual gut segments, showing that a comprehensive model may unravel complex and incoherent gastrointestinal symptoms in patients.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)1378-1390
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Abdomen
  • Gastrointestinal Motility
  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Nausea


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