Neuroendocrine and gastric myoelectrical responses to illusory self-motion in humans

K. L. Koch, R. M. Stern, M. W. Vasey, J. F. Seaton, L. M. Demers, T. S. Harrison

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We compared gastric myoelectrical activity and endogenous neuroendocrine responses in subjects with and without motion sickness elicited by illusory self-motion or vection. Rotating a drum with black and white vertical stripes around seated stationary subjects (n = 22) produced vection. Gastric myoelectrical activity was recorded with cutaneous electrodes. Thirteen subjects developed gastric dysrhythmias [4- to 9-cycles/min (cpm) signals] and motion sickness during vection, whereas nine subjects maintained normal 3-cpm gastric rhythms and remained symptom free. Base-line plasma cortisol and β-endorphin levels were significantly greater (P < 0.01) in the subjects who would develop gastric dysrhythmias and nausea compared with the subjects who would not develop motion sickness. Norepinephrine levels increased in the nauseated group immediately after vection ceased (354.6 ± 41.1 pg/ml) compared with the symptom-free subjects (223.1 ± 2.8 pg/ml, P < 0.05). Epinephrine increased significantly (P < 0.05) after vection only in the nauseated subjects, whereas dopamine levels were not altered by vection in either group. We conclude that 1) anticipatory increases in plasma cortisol and β-endorphin occurred in subjects who would develop nausea and gastric tachyarrhythmias during vection; 2) endogenous epinephrine and norepinephrine were increased in subjects who had vection-induced nausea and gastric dysrhythmias; and 3) vection stimulates brain-gut interactions, resulting in gastric tachyarrhythmias and complex neuroendocrine responses in subjects with motion sickness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E304-E310
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2 21-2
StatePublished - 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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