The brain-gut axis in abdominal pain syndromes.
ABSTRACT The importance of bidirectional brain-gut interactions in gastrointestinal (GI) illness is increasingly recognized, most prominently in the area of functional GI syndromes such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), functional dyspepsia, and functional chest pain. The brain receives a constant stream of interoceptive input from the GI tract, integrates this information with other interoceptive information from the body and with contextual information from the environment, and sends an integrated response back to various target cells within the GI tract. This system is optimized to assure homeostasis of the GI tract during physiological perturbations and to adapt GI function to the overall state of the organism. In health, the great majority of interoceptive information reaching the brain is not consciously perceived but serves primarily as input to autonomic reflex pathways. In patients with functional abdominal pain syndromes, conscious perception of interoceptive information from the GI tract, or recall of interoceptive memories of such input, can occur in the form of constant or recurrent discomfort or pain. This is often associated with alterations in autonomic nervous system output and with emotional changes. A model is proposed that incorporates reported peripheral and central abnormalities in patients with IBS, extrapolates similar alterations in brain-gut interactions to patients with other chronic abdominal pain syndromes, and provides novel treatment targets.
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ABSTRACT: Background. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a poorly understood disease with few effective treatments. Psychosocial factors are believed to contribute to the pathogenesis of IBS. Objective. To evaluate the evidence for psychological therapies in IBS treatment. Methods. We searched six medical databases through February 6, 2014, for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of psychological therapies for the treatment of IBS. Two independent reviewers identified the RCTs, extracted the data, and assessed trial quality. We used the random-effect model to pool standardized mean difference (SMD) and 95% confidence interval (CI) across trials. Results. 15 RCTs that mostly evaluated cognitive behavioral therapy were included. Psychological therapies were associated with improvement in IBS symptoms severity scales (SMD -0.618; 95% CI: -0.853 to -0.383), IBS-Quality of Life (SMD 0.604; 95% CI: 0.440 to 0.768), and abdominal pain (SMD -0.282; 95% CI: -0.562 to -0.001). No statistically significant effect was observed on diarrhea or constipation. Limitations. The trials were at increased risk of bias and the overall sample size was small leading to imprecision. Conclusion. Psychological therapies may improve the quality of life and symptom severity in IBS. The effect size noted is moderate to large and is clinically meaningful.Gastroenterology Research and Practice 01/2015; 2015:549308. DOI:10.1155/2015/549308 · 1.50 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Background Many screening procedures for agents with potential usefulness in functional dyspepsia (FD) rely on animals exposed to stress early in life (neonatal maternal separation, NMS) or in adulthood (restraint stress, RS). Purpose Since many clinical cases of FD have been associated with stress in early life followed by stress in adulthood, a sequential model simulating the clinical situation is described. To explore the validity of the model, the efficacy of STW5, a multicomponent herbal preparation of proven usefulness in FD, was tested. Study design/Methods A sequential stress model is established where rats are exposed to NMS after birth followed later by RS in adulthood. Stress hormones and ghrelin were measured in plasma, while responsiveness of stomach fundus strips to smooth muscle stimulants and relaxants was assessed ex-vivo. The effectiveness of treatment with STW5 a few days before and during exposure to RS in preventing changes induced by the stress model is reported and compared to its efficacy when used in animals subjected to RS alone. Results Responses to both stimulants and relaxants were reduced to various extents in the studied models, but treatment with STW5 tended to normalize gastric responsiveness. Plasma levels of ghrelin, corticosterone releasing factor, and corticosterone were raised by RS as well as the sequential model. Treatment with STW5 tended to prevent the deranged parameters. Conclusion The sequential stress model has a place in drug screening for potential usefulness in FD as it simulates more the clinical setting. Furthermore, the findings shed more light on the mechanisms of action of STW5 in FD.Phytomedicine 03/2015; 13. DOI:10.1016/j.phymed.2015.03.012 · 2.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The gut-brain axis (GBA) consists of bidirectional communication between the central and the enteric nervous system, linking emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with peripheral intestinal functions. Recent advances in research have described the importance of gut microbiota in influencing these interactions. This interaction between microbiota and GBA appears to be bidirectional, namely through signaling from gut-microbiota to brain and from brain to gut-microbiota by means of neural, endocrine, immune, and humoral links. In this review we summarize the available evidence supporting the existence of these interactions, as well as the possible pathophysiological mechanisms involved. Most of the data have been acquired using technical strategies consisting in germ-free animal models, probiotics, antibiotics, and infection studies. In clinical practice, evidence of microbiota-GBA interactions comes from the association of dysbiosis with central nervous disorders (i.e. autism, anxiety-depressive behaviors) and functional gastrointestinal disorders. In particular, irritable bowel syndrome can be considered an example of the disruption of these complex relationships, and a better understanding of these alterations might provide new targeted therapies.Annals of Gastroenterology 04/2015; 28(2):203-209.