Hyperglycemia alters perception of rectal distention and blunts the rectoanal inhibitory reflex in healthy volunteers

Gastroenterology. 1995 Jun;108(6):1700-8. doi: 10.1016/0016-5085(95)90131-0.


Background/aims: Acute hyperglycemia has been shown to alter gastrointestinal motility. The effects of hyperglycemia on rectal afferent neural and anal sphincter function were studied.

Methods: Perception of rectal balloon distention, pressure-volume relationships, volumes necessary to induce reflex internal anal sphincter relaxation, resting anal sphincter pressure, and maximal anal sphincter squeeze pressure were measured under basal, hyperglycemic clamp, and euglycemic, hyperinsulinemic clamp conditions in 9 healthy volunteers.

Results: Hyperglycemic clamping (258 +/- 14 mg/dL) significantly blunted threshold perception and the urge to defecate in response to rectal distention without altering perception of maximally tolerated distention. In contrast, euglycemic, hyperinsulinemic clamping had no effect on perception of rectal distention. Rectal pressure-volume relationships after hyperglycemic clamping were unchanged compared with basal conditions. Hyperglycemic clamping caused a significant increase in the distention necessary to induce the rectoanal inhibitory reflex. This effect was not observed under euglycemic, hyperinsulinemic clamp conditions. Hyperglycemia did not significantly affect resting internal anal sphincter pressure or maximal external anal sphincter squeeze pressure.

Conclusions: Acute hyperglycemia but not secondary hyperinsulinemia reduces sensation of rectal distention and blunts the onset of the rectoanal inhibitory reflex, suggesting effects both on visceral afferents projecting to the cortex and intrinsic afferents mediating local reflex activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anal Canal / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception
  • Pressure
  • Rectum / physiology*
  • Reflex*