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Serotonin is a key intercellular signalling molecule with well-known functions in the gastrointestinal tract, particularly for motility. This Review explores the non-conventional roles of gut-derived serotonin in the gut and other peripheral tissues, including during gastrointestinal inflammation, haematopoiesis, metabolic homeostasis and bone remodelling.
Bidirectional gut–brain communications are proving key to both gastrointestinal and neurological diseases. This Review explores the role of the mucosal immune system as gatekeeper and master regulator of these brain–gut and gut–brain communications.
Organoids formed by combining pluripotent-stem-cell-derived human neural crest cells with pluripotent-stem-cell-derived intestinal tissue show functional interstitial cells of Cajal and undergo waves of contraction; these tissues reveal insights into the molecular defects characterizing Hirschsprung's disease.
The enteric nervous system is vital for life, and its dysfunction participates not only in digestive disorders, but also in diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). Here, Rao and Gershon discuss the gastrointestinal consequences of neurological disorders, the acquisition of CNS disease in the gut and the spread of pathology along the gut–brain axis.
Upper gastrointestinal tract function is regulated by vagovagal neurocircuits, comprising brainstem nuclei that integrate visceral sensory information and provide vagal motor output. Here, Travagli and Anselmi describe the organization of these neurocircuits and their plasticity in response to stressors. The influence of gastrointestinal peptides on vagovagal neurons is also discussed.