Published online Apr 14, 2020. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v26.i14.1564
Peer-review started: December 17, 2019
First decision: January 16, 2020
Revised: March 4, 2020
Accepted: March 9, 2020
Article in press: March 9, 2020
Published online: April 14, 2020
A number of digestive and extra-digestive disorders, including inflammatory bowel diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, intestinal infections, metabolic syndrome and neuropsychiatric disorders, share a set of clinical features at gastrointestinal level, such as infrequent bowel movements, abdominal distension, constipation and secretory dysfunctions. Several lines of evidence indicate that morphological and molecular changes in intestinal epithelial barrier and enteric neuromuscular compartment contribute to alterations of both bowel motor and secretory functions in digestive and extra-digestive diseases. The present review has been conceived to provide a comprehensive and critical overview of the available knowledge on the morphological and molecular changes occurring in intestinal epithelial barrier and enteric neuromuscular compartment in both digestive and extra-digestive diseases. In addition, our intent was to highlight whether these morphological and molecular alterations could represent a common path (or share some common features) driving the pathophysiology of bowel motor dysfunctions and related symptoms associated with digestive and extra-digestive disorders. This assessment might help to identify novel targets of potential usefulness to develop original pharmacological approaches for the therapeutic management of such disturbances.
Core tip: Current evidence suggests that impairments of intestinal epithelial barrier and enteric neuromuscular compartment might represent a common condition underlying the onset/progression of bowel functional disturbances in both digestive and extra-digestive diseases. In this review, we summarize the impact of morphological and molecular alterations occurring in intestinal epithelial barrier and enteric neuromuscular compartment on bowel motor and secretory functions in digestive and extra-digestive diseases. This assessment, beyond to provide insight on the pathophysiology of bowel motor dysfunctions, could pave the way to the identification of novel therapeutic targets for the management of bowel dysfunctions associated with digestive and extra-digestive disorders.