The role of afferent nerves in the pathogenesis of postinflammatory gastrointestinal motility and sensitivity disturbances in the rat. 01/10/2010 - 30/09/2012


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a gastrointestinal disease of unknown aetiology that is characterized by episodes of acute bowel inflammation alternating with phases of remission during which inflammation fades away. IBD in remission is interrelated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is 'functional' gastrointestinal disorder. IBD in remission and IBS both occur in the absence of obvious structural bowel abnormalities and patients suffer from comparable symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea, constipation and weight loss. These symptoms affect the patient's quality of life considerably, especially because treatment is often difficult and clinically challenging. The bowel contains sensory nerves which transmit signals within the intestinal wall and to the brain. These signals regulate vital bowel functions such as gastric emptying and food propulsion but also nausea and pain. Recent evidence suggests that sensory nerves in patients with IBS and IBD in remission are hypersensitive, leading to uncontrolled nerve signalling and disturbed motility. A better insight of sensory nerve signals and the molecules that modulate them, will lead to better treatment options of functional complaints in patients with IBS and IBD in remission. This will improve their quality of life leading to more efficient medical consumption and to a reduced socio-economic burden.


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Project type(s)

  • Research Project