Pathophysiology of neurogastroenterological disorders: GI motility and sensory disorders

Mira M. Wouters, Gianrico Farrugia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Gastrointestinal function is controlled by the coordinated action of several cell types. Functional coupling between extrinsic nerves, the enteric nervous system, interstitial cells of Cajal and smooth muscle cells results in normal gastrointestinal motility. Injury to any of these cell types may disrupt functional coupling and result in motility disorders. Together with its motor function, the gastrointestinal tract also has a "sensory" function. The sensory system of the gastrointestinal tract is complex and signals information about the chemical environment of the gastrointestinal tract lumen, tension in the gut wall and the condition of the tissue (e.g. inflammation). Functional coupling between mucosal cells, enteric nerves, interstitial cells of Cajal and smooth muscle cells underlies "sensation." This review will help provide an understanding of the cell types that generate normal motility and sensation and changes that occur in common motility disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-34
Number of pages20
JournalPractical Gastroenterology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2006


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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