Neuro-glial crosstalk in inflammatory bowel disease

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Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a multifactorial disease in which environmental, immune and genetic factors are involved in the pathogenesis. Although biological therapies (antibodies anti-tumour necrosis factor-α or anti-integrin) have considerably improved the symptoms and quality of life of IBD patients, some drawbacks have emerged limiting their long-term use. In addition, prevention of relapses and treatment of resistant ulcers remains a clinical challenge. In this context, a better understanding of the pathophysiology of IBD and the development of novel therapeutic intervention would benefit from further basic and preclinical research into the role of the cellular microenvironment and the interaction between its cellular constituents. In this context, the role of the enteric nervous system (ENS) in the regulation of the intestinal epithelial barrier (IEB) and the gut immune response has fuelled an increased interest in the last few years. Recent advances, summarized in this review, have highlighted the ENS as playing a key role in the control of IEB functions and gut immune homeostasis, and that alterations of the ENS could be directly associated in the development of IBD and its associated symptoms.

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