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Neurogastroenterology, the neurology of the gastrointestinal tract, liver, gallbladder and pancreas, encompasses the control of digestion and the gastrointestinal system through the integration of the enteric nervous system (ENS) and the central nervous system. In this article series, Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology explores basic, translational and clinical topics in neurogastroenterology, from basic mechanisms and fundamental insights into the ENS to understanding and management of motility and functional gastrointestinal disorders.
Defaecation is a coordinated process that requires a morphologically intact gastrointestinal tract and the integration of multiple physiological systems (neuromuscular, hormonal and cognitive). This Review describes the physiology of human defaecation and continence, providing insights into the pathophysiology of defaecation and evacuation disorders.
Enteric glia regulate homeostasis in the enteric nervous system and influence gastrointestinal function. This Review provides an update on enteric glial biology and the underlying mechanisms by which enteric glia regulate gastrointestinal function and disease, with a focus on neuronal and immune interactions.
Although the role of the enteric nervous system in congenital enteric neuropathic disorders is well acknowledged, its role in systemic diseases is less understood. Here, the authors focus on diseases in which the enteric nervous system has so far not been considered to have a major role and on its emerging role in neurodegeneration, cancer and diabetes.
Food addiction is an eating behaviour that reflects alterations in brain–gut–microbiome (BGM) interactions and a shift towards hedonic mechanisms. This Review summarizes the physiology of food addiction in obesity as it relates to BGM interactions and provides insights into treatment targets for food addiction aimed at each level of the BGM axis.
Gastrointestinal dysfunction (including dysphagia and constipation) can occur in Parkinson disease (PD), with evidence that they can arise prior to diagnosis of PD. This Review describes new insights into the mechanisms and pathophysiology of the gastrointestinal involvement of PD, including clinical manifestations.
The enteric nervous system (ENS) is essential for life and controls the function of the gastrointestinal tract. Here, an overview of sensory transduction and neural circuits in the ENS is provided, yielding insights into the generation of gastrointestinal motility.
One of the most pleasurable, yet dangerous, activities of our daily life is eating. But once food has been swallowed, all we can do is to trust our gut. Several remarkable studies published in 2020 have expanded our knowledge on how the gut is intertwined with essential behaviours beyond food.
Key studies published in 2019 shed new light on how complex motor patterns emerge from the functional organization of circuits in the enteric nervous system and, in turn, how extrinsic afferent neurons and common commensal microorganisms interface with these circuits to modulate intestinal motility.