Novel insights about the mechanism of visceral hypersensitivity in maternally separated rats

Zhaoxiang BIAN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Visceral hypersensitivity (VHS) is one of the most important characteristics of functional gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Stress, whether physical or psychological, is known to be a crucial factor for inducing and maintaining visceral sensitivity in humans and rodents, but how stress induces VHS is not fully understood. In a recent study published in Neurogastroenterology and Motility, Wouters et al. demonstrate, for the first time, that maternal separation induces activation of periaqueductal gray (PAG), the hippocampus and the somatosensory cortex concomitantly with increased deactivation of the pre-frontal cortex. The findings provide insight on the role of maternal separation in inducing regional cerebral blood flow changes and cerebral plasticity. These novel insights on the role of central activation in the modulation of stress-induced VHS add to our growing understanding of the mechanisms that underlie VHS and suggest potential new drug development targets in stress-related diseases, including IBS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-596
Number of pages4
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Gastroenterology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Cerebral activation
  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Nerve plasticity
  • Stress
  • Visceral hyperalgesia


Dive into the research topics of 'Novel insights about the mechanism of visceral hypersensitivity in maternally separated rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this