Enteric neurodegeneration in ageing.

Michael Camilleri, T. Cowen, T. R. Koch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The objective of this article is to review the clinical presentation and neurobiology of degeneration of the enteric nervous system with emphasis on human data where available. Constipation, incontinence and evacuation disorders are frequently encountered in the ageing population. Healthy lower gastrointestinal function is essential for successful ageing as it is critical to maintaining independence and autonomy to pursue further activity. One clinical expression of enteric neurodegeneration is constipation. However, the aetiology may be multifactorial as disturbances of epithelial, muscle or neural function may all result from neurodegeneration. There is evidence of loss of excitatory (e.g. cholinergic) enteric neurons and interstitial cells of Cajal, whereas inhibitory (including nitrergic) neurons appear unaffected. Understanding neurodegeneration in the enteric nervous system is key to developing treatments to reverse it. Neurotrophins have been shown to accelerate colonic transit and relieve constipation in the medium term; they are also implicated in maintenance programmes in adult enteric neurons through a role in antioxidant defence. However, their effects in ageing colon require further study. There is evidence that 5-HT(2) and 5-HT(4) mechanisms are involved in development, maintenance and survival of enteric neurons. Further research is needed to understand and potentially reverse enteric neurodegeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-429
Number of pages12
JournalNeurogastroenterology and motility : the official journal of the European Gastrointestinal Motility Society
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2008

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Constipation
Enteric Nervous System
Serotonin
Nitrergic Neurons
Maintenance
Interstitial Cells of Cajal
Neurons
Cholinergic Neurons
Neurobiology
Nerve Growth Factors
Colon
Antioxidants
Muscles
Research
Population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Enteric neurodegeneration in ageing. / Camilleri, Michael; Cowen, T.; Koch, T. R.

In: Neurogastroenterology and motility : the official journal of the European Gastrointestinal Motility Society, Vol. 20, No. 4, 04.2008, p. 418-429.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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