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Central Regulation of Autonomic Functions$
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Ida J. Llewellyn-Smith and Anthony J. M. Verberne

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195306637

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306637.001.0001

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Central Control of Gastrointestinal Function

Central Control of Gastrointestinal Function

Chapter:
(p.259) 14 Central Control of Gastrointestinal Function
Source:
Central Regulation of Autonomic Functions
Author(s):

Pamela J. Hornby

Paul R. Wade

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306637.003.0014

This chapter builds on a basic understanding of the central nervous system (CNS) as coordinator of regional gastrointestinal (GI) tract reflexes. The dorsal vagal complex in the CNS permissively governs the largely autonomous control by the enteric nervous system (ENS) of functions such as absorption, secretion and motility. The CNS actively coordinates voluntary and autonomic communication for complex behavioral functions, such as swallowing, emesis and defecation. The CNS and ENS communicate with inflammatory cells, endocrine cells and microbiota to maintain GI homeostasis and their dysfunction can give rise to clinical disorders. For example, stress or enteritis may predispose individuals to Irritable Bowel Syndrome in which altered bowel function is accompanied by visceral pain. Neural modulation of immune cells and release of inflammatory mediators may contribute to Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Thus, the bi-directional brain-gut axis maintains GI health and its perturbation contributes to GI disorders.

Keywords:   brain-gut axis, dorsal vagal nucleus, emesis (or vomiting), metabolic disease, enteric nervous system, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disease

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