Background Significant changes in autonomic activity occur at sleep-wake transitions and constitute an ideal setting for investigating the modulatory role of the autonomic nervous system on gastric myoelectrical activity (GMA). Methods Using continuous power spectral analysis of electroencephalogram, electromyogram, and electrogastromyogram (EGMG) data from freely moving rats that had undergone chemical sympathetomy and/or truncal vagotomy, sleep-wake-related fluctuations in GMA were compared among the intervention groups. Key Results The pattern and extent of fluctuations in EGMG power across the sleep-wake states was blunted most significantly in rats undergoing both chemical sympathectomy and truncal vagotomy. The effect of these interventions also varied with respect to the transition between different sleep-wake states. The most prominent influences were observed between active waking and quiet sleep and between paradoxical sleep and quiet sleep. Conclusions & Inferences The sleep-wake-related fluctuations in EGMG power are a result of joint contributions from both sympathetic and vagal innervation. Vagotomy mainly resulted in a reduction in EGMG power, while the role of sympathetic innervation was unveiled by vagotomy and this was reflected most obviously in the extent of the fluctuations in EGMG power.
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