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Papers of the Week

Papers: 9 Feb 2019 - 15 Feb 2019


Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol



Enteric Glia: A New Player in Abdominal Pain.


Morales-Soto W, Gulbransen BD
Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019; 7(2):433-445.
PMID: 30739868.


Chronic abdominal pain is the most common gastrointestinal issue and contributes to the pathophysiology of functional bowel disorders and inflammatory bowel disease. Current theories suggest that neuronal plasticity and broad alterations along the brain-gut axis contribute to the development of chronic abdominal pain, but the specific mechanisms involved in chronic abdominal pain remain incompletely understood. Accumulating evidence implicates glial cells in the development and maintenance of chronic pain. Astrocytes and microglia in the central nervous system and satellite glia in dorsal root ganglia contribute to chronic pain states through reactive gliosis, the modification of glial networks, and the synthesis and release of neuromodulators. In addition, new data suggest that enteric glia, a unique type of peripheral glia found within the enteric nervous system, have the potential to modify visceral perception through interactions with neurons and immune cells. Understanding these emerging roles of enteric glia is important to fully understand the mechanisms that drive chronic pain and to identify novel therapeutic targets. In this review, we discuss enteric glial cell signaling mechanisms that have the potential to influence chronic abdominal pain.