Correlation between the motility of the proximal antrum and the high-frequency power of heart rate variability in freely moving rats

Alissa L. Meister, Yanyan Jiang, Kim K. Doheny, R. Alberto Travagli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Cardiac vagal tone can be monitored non-invasively via electrocardiogram measurements of the high-frequency power spectrum of heart rate variability (HF-HRV). Vagal inputs to the upper GI tract are cumbersome to measure non-invasively. Although cardiac and GI vagal outputs arise from distinct brainstem nuclei, the nucleus ambiguus, and the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus, respectively, we aim to test the hypotheses that in freely moving rats HF-HRV power is correlated to proximal antral motility and can be altered by high levels of circulating estrogen and vagal-selective treatments known to affect antral motility. Methods: Male and female Sprague-Dawley rats were implanted with a miniaturized strain gauge on the proximal gastric antrum and ECG electrodes to collect simultaneous antral motility and electrocardiogram. After recovery, male rats underwent baseline recordings before and after administration of saline (N = 8), cholecystokinin (CCK; N = 7), ghrelin (N = 6), or food (N = 6). Female rats (N = 6) underwent twice-daily recordings to determine baseline correlations during estrous cycle stages. Key Results: There was a significant positive correlation between HF-HRV and proximal antral motility at baseline in males and females with low, but not high, estrogen levels. In male rats, the significant positive correlation was maintained following CCK, but not ghrelin or food administration. Conclusions and Inferences: Our data suggest that in rodents, HF-HRV positively correlates to proximal antral motility at baseline conditions in males and low-estrogen females or following interventions, such as CCK, known to affect vagal tone. This correlation is not observed when antral motility is influenced by more complex events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Gastroenterology

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