How does inflammation of the gut change its sensory innervation? [ 2006 - 2008 ]

Also known as: Effects of inflammation on sensory pathways from the gut

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Prof Ashley Blackshaw (Principal investigator) ,  A/Pr Stuart Brierley Prof Simon Brookes Prof Amanda Page

Brief description A large number of patients that are referred to gastroenterologists for pain and discomfort from the bowel are offered no effective treatment. This has a large impact on quality of life and often involves invasive tests to rule out inflammatory or cancerous causes. These patients are classified as suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Patients who have diagnosable inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) where colonoscopy is positive may suffer similar symptoms but also have no treatment for this type of symptom. It is becoming apparent that a large subgroup of IBS patients have undergone prior infection or inflammation, and that there are in fact changes in the types of cells in biopsies from their gut. Thus there are common features to IBS and inflammation. These may provide a means for us to find new treatments for IBS and IBD symptoms. Mice develop similar microscopic changes in the colon after experimental inflammation to those seen in humans, so we can discover more from this model. We have recently established that there are several types of sensory nerve fibres from the mouse colon and rectum that convey information about contractions, distension and chemical mediators released from tissue to the central nervous system. These are almost certainly responsible for generating symptoms in patients. We aim in this project to discover how these sensory nerves change in their responsiveness to mechanical and chemical stimuli in experimental inflammation. Importantly we shall investigate the mediators that are present in the tissue which may activate sensory nerves and-or the receptors on sensory nerves that may be increased. These experiments we hope will provide a target at which to aim novel drug treatments for symptoms of IBS and IBD.

Funding Amount $AUD 613,767.61

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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