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Gastrointestinal motor and myoelectric correlates of motion sickness. Am J Physiol 1999 09;277(3):G642-52



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-0032871232   41 Citations


The objectives of this study were to characterize the digestive tract motor and myoelectric responses associated with motion sickness. Twenty-two cats (1.5-3.0 kg) were chronically implanted with force transducers and electrodes on the stomach and small intestine. Motion sickness was activated by vertical oscillation (VO) at +/-0.5 g and identified as salivation, licking, or vomiting. Vomiting was initiated chemically by UK-14304 (2.5-15 microg/kg iv) or CuSO4 (10-50 mg ig). We found that VO caused vomiting (45% of trials), a decrease in gastrointestinal (GI) motility (69% of trials), salivation or licking (59% of trials), bradygastria (39% of trials), retrograde giant contraction (RGC, 43% of trials), giant migrating contraction (GMC, 5% of trials), and defecation (18% of trials). The decrease in GI motility occurred with (62% of trials) or without (69% of trials) vomiting. Motion sickness was accompanied by bradygastria (52% of trials) and decreased GI motility (70% of trials). Similar events occurred after CuSO4 and UK-14304, but the incidences of responses after CuSO4 were less frequent, except for vomiting, RGC, and GMC. UK-14304 never caused GMCs or defecation. The magnitude and velocity of the RGC were the same during all emetic stimuli, and RGCs never occurred without subsequent vomiting. Supradiaphragmatic vagotomy (n = 1) or atropine (n = 2, 10 or 50 microg/kg iv) blocked the RGC, but not vomiting, due to VO. We concluded that 1) oculovestibular stimulation causes digestive tract responses similar to other types of emetic stimuli, 2) decreased GI motility and bradygastria may be physiological correlates of the motion sickness, and 3) motion sickness may not be dependent on any specific GI motor or myoelectric response.

Author List

Lang IM, Sarna SK, Shaker R


Ivan M. Lang DVM, PhD Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Reza Shaker MD Assoc Provost, Sr Assoc Dean, Ctr Dir, Chief, Prof in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Atropine Derivatives
Brimonidine Tartrate
Copper Sulfate
Digestive System
Gastrointestinal Motility
Motion Sickness
Myoelectric Complex, Migrating
jenkins-FCD Prod-466 5b81815b8b3d1f46bfec16512ed5f574613f59c5