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Am J Physiol. 1990 Dec;259(6 Pt 1):G983-90.

Relationship between enteric migrating motor complex and the sleep cycle.

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Gastrointestinal Science Research Unit, London Hospital Medical College, United Kingdom.


To address the question of synchrony between two major biorhythms with a similar periodicity, the cortical rapid eye movement (REM)/non-REM sleep cycle and the enteric migrating motor complex (MMC cycle), we recorded upper small bowel motor activity and sleep activity during nocturnal and diurnal sleep in six healthy subjects. Motility was measured continuously using a fine (2.2 mm OD) and relatively comfortable nasojejunal probe with two pressure-sensitive microtransducers positioned under fluoroscopic control on either side of the ligament of Treitz. Sleep stages were recorded while the subjects slept in a sleep laboratory. Each subject was studied twice; once during normal nocturnal sleep and then after acute reversal of sleep by advancing the time of going to bed by 4 h each night for three nights. The total duration of sleep was similar for diurnal and nocturnal sleep. There was a significantly higher number of REM episodes (P less than 0.001) and REM sleep stage shifts (P less than 0.02) during diurnal (reversed) sleep. During sleep (both diurnal and nocturnal) there was a significant reduction in the MMC cycle length (P less than 0.02, P less than 0.03) and the duration of phase II of the MMC (P less than 0.009, P less than 0.02). The distribution of MMCs among sleep stages and REM sleep was consistent with a random distribution. These data show that periodic activity in the gut is modulated by the presence or absence of sleep, but they also are consistent with the hypothesis that the two cycles are independent and that one is not contingent upon the other.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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