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J Med Invest. 2001 Feb;48(1-2):44-59.

Neural mechanisms of motion sickness.

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Department of Otolaryngology, University of Tokushima School of Medicine, Kuramoto-cho, Tokushima 770-8503, Japan.


Three kinds of neurotransmitters: histamine, acetylcholine and noradrenaline, play important roles in the neural processes of motion sickness, because antihistamines, scopolamine and amphetamine are effective in preventing motion sickness. Histamine H1-receptors are involved in the development of the symptoms and signs of motion sickness, including emesis. On provocative motion stimuli, a neural mismatch signal activates the histaminergic neuron system in the hypothalamus, and the histaminergic descending impulse stimulates H1-receptors in the emetic center of the brainstem. The histaminergic input to the emetic center through H1-receptors is independent of dopamine D2-receptors in the chemoreceptor trigger zone in the area postrema and serotonin 5HT3-receptors in the visceral afferent, which are also involved in the emetic reflex. Antihistamines block emetic H1-receptors to prevent motion sickness. Scopolamine prevents motion sickness by modifying the neural store to reduce the neural mismatch signal and by facilitating the adaptation/habituation processes. The noradrenergic neuron system in the locus coeruleus is suppressed by the neural mismatch signal. Amphetamine antagonizes mismatch-induced suppression of noradrenergic neural transmission, resulting in preventing motion sickness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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