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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 11, Issue 4, Pages 353-357
Pediatric Gastroenterology

Effect of Psychoneural Factors on Intestinal Epithelial Function

M Cecilia Berin and Mary H Perdue

Intestinal Disease Research Program, Department of Pathology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Copyright © 1997 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Stress has been associated with abnormal gastrointestinal function, including diarrhea and abdominal pain, and stress-associated gastric ulceration has frequently been documented. Stress can also exacerbate ongoing pathophysiology and often precedes relapses in patients with inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome. The relatively new field of psychoneuroimmunology is involved with the elucidation of mechanisms that explain the link between the central nervous system and immune-mediated pathophysiology. Recent progress examining the interaction among the nervous system, the immune system and the epithelium of the intestine is discussed, and the evidence for central nervous sysytem control of this interaction is examined.