OBJECTIVE: To determine the effects of hyperdynamic endotoxemia on the motility of the small intestine. SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: Motility disorders of the gastrointestinal tract are a common complication of sepsis. It has been suggested that gram-negative endotoxin plays a role in the pathogenesis of the accompanying diarrhea frequently observed. METHODS: Pigs were infused with lipopolysaccharide for a 24-hour period. During this fasting period jejunal motility was measured using ambulatory manometry. One and 4 days after cessation of endotoxin, pigs were enterally fed, and again motility was recorded. RESULTS: Hyperdynamic endotoxemia was achieved in this model. Manometric pressure recordings revealed that endotoxin infusion accelerated the migrating motor complex (MMC) migration along the jejunum. Also, a simultaneous increase in MMC cycling frequency was observed in the endotoxin-treated group. Elevated MMC migration velocity and cycling frequency were maintained the following day after endotoxin during feeding and returned to basal values 4 days after endotoxin. CONCLUSIONS: A small dose of continuously infused endotoxin significantly provokes jejunal motility disturbances that may contribute to diarrhea.