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The MRI colonic function test: Reproducibility of the Macrogol stimulus challenge

Wilkinson-Smith, Victoria; Menys, Alex; Bradley, Christopher; Corsetti, Maura; Marciani, Luca; Atkinson, David; Coupland, Carol; Taylor, Stuart; Gowland, Penny; Spiller, Robin; Hoad, Caroline


Victoria Wilkinson-Smith

Alex Menys

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Professor of Gastrointestinal Imaging

David Atkinson

Professor of Medical Statistics

Stuart Taylor

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Professor of Gastroenterology



Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the colonic response to a macrogol challenge drink can be used to assess the mechanisms underlying severe constipation. We measured the intra-subject reproducibility of MRI measures of colonic function to aid their implementation as a possible clinical test.


Healthy participants attended for MRI on two occasions (identical protocols, minimum 1 week apart). They underwent a fasted scan then consumed the macrogol drink. Subjects were scanned at 60 and 120 minutes, with maximum value reached used for comparison. The colonic volume, water content, mixing of colonic content and the movement of the colon walls were measured. Coefficients of variation and intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) were calculated.


12 participants completed the study: 9 female, mean age 26 years (SD 5) and body mass index 24.8kg/m2 (SD 3.2). All measures consistently increased above baseline following provocation with macrogol. The volume, water content and content mixing had good intra-subject reproducibility (ICC volume=0.84, water content=0.93, mixing=0.79, p


Wilkinson-Smith, V., Menys, A., Bradley, C., Corsetti, M., Marciani, L., Atkinson, D., …Hoad, C. (2020). The MRI colonic function test: Reproducibility of the Macrogol stimulus challenge. Neurogastroenterology and Motility, 32(11),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 18, 2020
Online Publication Date Jul 16, 2020
Publication Date 2020-11
Deposit Date Jul 8, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jul 17, 2021
Journal Neurogastroenterology & Motility
Electronic ISSN 1365-2982
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 32
Issue 11
Article Number e13942
Keywords Gastroenterology; Physiology; Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
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