Journal article

The gut as a sensory organ

John B Furness, Leni R Rivera, Hyun-Jung Cho, David M Bravo, Brid Callaghan

NATURE REVIEWS GASTROENTEROLOGY & HEPATOLOGY | NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP | Published : 2013

Abstract

The gastrointestinal tract presents the largest and most vulnerable surface to the outside world. Simultaneously, it must be accessible and permeable to nutrients and must defend against pathogens and potentially injurious chemicals. Integrated responses to these challenges require the gut to sense its environment, which it does through a range of detection systems for specific chemical entities, pathogenic organisms and their products (including toxins), as well as physicochemical properties of its contents. Sensory information is then communicated to four major effector systems: the enteroendocrine hormonal signalling system; the innervation of the gut, both intrinsic and extrinsic; the gu..

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