Gastric myoelectrical activity was studied in diabetic patients using electrogastrography (EGG) to elucidate the relationship between glucose control, diabetic autonomic neuropathy (AN), and gastrointestinal motility.


Cutaneous EGG was recorded during 1 h of fasting and 1 h after the ingestion of a standard meal in 57 diabetic patients and 10 healthy subjects. EGG was measured in 12 diabetic patients after glycemic control for 4 weeks. Diabetic patients were also studied with respect to the presence of gastrointestinal symptoms and AN.


The percentage of dominant electrical frequency (DF) in normal range (the percentage ratio between the power at 2.4–3.6 cycles/min [cpm] and at 1–10 cpm) was significantly lower in patients with AN than in either the control subjects or the patients without AN (P < 0.01). The dominant frequency instability coefficient (DFIC) was significantly higher in patients with and without AN than in the control subjects (P < 0.01). The postprandial-to-fasting power ratio (PR) was the lowest in patients with AN (P < 0.01). Multiple regression analysis revealed that HbA1c levels were independently associated with the DFIC (R2 = 0.099, P = 0.0170) and that AN and HbA1c levels were independently associated with the PR (R2 = 0.378, P < 0.0001) in diabetic patients. The percentage of normal DF increased and the DFIC decreased significantly after glycemic control in 12 diabetic patients (P = 0.0409; P = 0.0096, respectively).


There appears to be an association between improvement in gastric myoelectrical activity and autonomic nerve function. Abnormalities of gastric myoelectrical activity may be partly ameliorated via the improvement of autonomic nerve function, which accompanies glycemic control.

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