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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2016, Article ID 1363818, 14 pages
Review Article

Neuroimmunomodulation in the Gut: Focus on Inflammatory Bowel Disease

1Serviço de Gastroenterologia & Laboratório Multidisciplinar de Pesquisa, Hospital Universitário, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 21941-913 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
2D’Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR), 22281-100 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Received 30 March 2016; Accepted 7 June 2016

Academic Editor: Marisa I. Gómez

Copyright © 2016 Claudio Bernardazzi et al. 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.


Intestinal immunity is finely regulated by several concomitant and overlapping mechanisms, in order to efficiently sense external stimuli and mount an adequate response of either tolerance or defense. In this context, a complex interplay between immune and nonimmune cells is responsible for the maintenance of normal homeostasis. However, in certain conditions, the disruption of such an intricate network may result in intestinal inflammation, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is believed to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors acting in concert with an inappropriate immune response, which in turn interacts with nonimmune cells, including nervous system components. Currently, evidence shows that the interaction between the immune and the nervous system is bidirectional and plays a critical role in the regulation of intestinal inflammation. Recently, the maintenance of intestinal homeostasis has been shown to be under the reciprocal control of the microbiota by immune mechanisms, whereas intestinal microorganisms can modulate mucosal immunity. Therefore, in addition to presenting the mechanisms underlying the interaction between immune and nervous systems in the gut, here we discuss the role of the microbiota also in the regulation of neuroimmune crosstalk involved in intestinal homeostasis and inflammation, with potential implications to IBD pathogenesis.