Altered ion channel/receptor expression and function in extrinsic sensory neurons: The cause of and solution to chronic visceral pain?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The gastrointestinal tract is unique in that it is innervated by several distinct populations of neurons, whose cell bodies are either intrinsic (enteric, viscerofugal) or extrinsic (sympathetic, sensory afferents) to the wall of the gut. We are usually completely unaware of the continuous, complicated orchestra of functions that these neurons conduct. However, for patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or functional gastrointestinal disorders, such as Functional Dyspepsia (FD) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) altered gastrointestinal motility, discomfort and pain are common, debilitating symptoms. Whilst bouts of inflammation underlie the symptoms associated with IBD, over the past few years there is increased pre-clinical and clinical evidence that infection and inflammation are key risk factors for the development of several functional gastrointestinal disorders, in particular IBS. There is a strong correlation between prior exposure to gut infection and symptom occurrence; with the duration and severity of the initial illness the strongest associated risk factors. This review discusses the current body of evidence for neuroplasticity during inflammation and how in many cases fails to reset back to normal, long after healing of the damaged tissues. Recent evidence suggests that the altered expression and function of key ion channels and receptors within extrinsic sensory neurons play fundamental roles in the aberrant pain sensation associated with these gastrointestinal diseases and disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2016

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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