Fundamentals of Neurogastroenterology: Basic Science
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The focus of neurogastroenterology in Rome II was the enteric nervous system (ENS). To avoid duplication with Rome II, only advances in ENS neurobiology after Rome II are reviewed together with stronger emphasis on interactions of the brain, spinal cord, and the gut in terms of relevance for abdominal pain and disordered gastrointestinal function. A committee with expertise in selective aspects of neurogastroenterology was invited to evaluate the literature and provide a consensus overview of the Fundamentals of Neurogastroenterology textbook as they relate to functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs). This review is an abbreviated version of a fuller account that appears in the forthcoming book, Rome III. This report reviews current basic science understanding of visceral sensation and its modulation by inflammation and stress and advances in the neurophysiology of the ENS. Many of the concepts are derived from animal studies in which the physiologic mechanisms underlying visceral sensitivity and neural control of motility, secretion, and blood flow are examined. Impact of inflammation and stress in experimental models relative to FGIDs is reviewed as is human brain imaging, which provides a means for translating basic science to understanding FGID symptoms. Investigative evidence and emerging concepts implicate dysfunction in the nervous system as a significant factor underlying patient symptoms in FGIDs. Continued focus on neurogastroenterologic factors that underlie the development of symptoms will lead to mechanistic understanding that is expected to directly benefit the large contingent of patients and care-givers who deal with FGIDs.
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