Diverticular Disease of the Colon: Neuromuscular Function Abnormalities

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Abstract

Colonic diverticular disease is a frequent finding in daily clinical practice. However, its pathophysiological mechanisms are largely unknown. This condition is likely the result of several concomitant factors occurring together to cause anatomic and functional abnormalities, leading as a result to the outpouching of the colonic mucosa. A pivotal role seems to be played by an abnormal colonic neuromuscular function, as shown repeatedly in these patients, and by an altered visceral perception. There is recent evidence that these abnormalities might be related to the derangement of the enteric innervation, to an abnormal distribution of mucosal neuropeptides, and to low-grade mucosal inflammation. The latter might be responsible for the development of visceral hypersensitivity, often causing abdominal pain in a subset of these patients.

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