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The role of enteric glia in gut inflammation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 July 2011

Georg von Boyen*
Department of Internal Medicine I (Gastroenterology), University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany
Martin Steinkamp
Department of Gastroenterology, Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany
Correspondence should be addressed to: Georg von Boyen, Klinik für Innere Medizin I, Universitätsklinikum Ulm, Albert-Einstein Allee 23, 89081 Ulm, Germany phone: +49 731 500 44603 fax: +49 731 500 44610 email:


A neuro-glia interaction is part of gut inflammation and essential for the integrity of the bowel. A loss of enteric glia cells (EGCs) led to a fatal haemorrhagic jejuno-ileitis and death in a few days. Although a diminished EGC network is postulated in inflammatory bowel disease and enteric glia pathology is described in Chagas' disease the role of EGCs in the onset of these disease complexes is not definitely clear. Several lines of evidence implicate that the secretion of different factors by enteric glia may be the key for modulating gut homeostasis. As mucosal integrity might be important for remission in Crohn's disease and inflammation of the enteric nervous system is part of the pathology in Chagas' disease, the role of EGCs during gut inflammation could be part of the key to understand these diseases.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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