Objective: Hyperglycaemia delays gastric emptying in normal subjects and patients with diabetes mellitus by uncertain mechanisms and may affect the perception of somatic sensations. The effects of hyperglycaemia on the motor function of the proximal stomach and the perception of gastric distension were evaluated in normal subjects.
Design: Paired studies were performed in randomized order in 10 healthy volunteers on separate days during euglycaemia and hyperglycaemia (blood glucose approximately equal to 15 mmol/l).
Methods: With a barostat and a balloon positioned in the proximal stomach, tasting subjects underwent a stepwise gastric distension. Each 2 mmHg step was maintained at a constant pressure for 2 min. The volume of the barostat balloon was measured and perception of the sensations of fullness, desire to belch, nausea, abdominal discomfort and hunger was scored at each step.
Results: Hyperglycaemia was associated with an increase in proximal gastric compliance (P < 0.01) evident from 2 mmHg above basal intragastric pressure. Perception scores for the sensations of nausea and desire to belch were greater during hyperglycaemia than euglycaemia (P < 0.05) in relation to both pressure at each step and volume. Hyperglycaemia did not affect perception of the sensations of abdominal discomfort, fullness or hunger.
Conclusions: Hyperglycaemia increases proximal gastric compliance, reflecting a reduction in gastric tone. This may contribute to the previously observed delay in gastric emptying associated with hyperglycaemia. Hyperglycaemia appears to increase the perception of some of the sensations induced by gastric distension.