Enteric nerves and diarrhoea

Pharmacol Toxicol. 2002 Mar;90(3):109-20. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0773.2002.900301.x.


This review article discusses the importance of the enteric nervous system for the fluid and electrolyte secretion evoked by luminal secretagogues in the small intestine. The first part of the review summarizes observations on augmented secretion caused by cholera toxin, which has been the subject of extensive studies in the past. The latter part reviews studies of the participation of the enteric nervous system in other secretory states of the gut. The involvement of the enteric nervous system in the pathophysiology of intestinal secretory states opens up potential new sites of actions for drugs in the treatment of diarrhoea. This is discussed in the final part of this review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antidiarrheals / therapeutic use
  • Cholera Toxin / pharmacology
  • Diarrhea / drug therapy
  • Diarrhea / physiopathology*
  • Electrolytes / metabolism
  • Electrophysiology
  • Enteric Nervous System / drug effects
  • Enteric Nervous System / pathology
  • Enteric Nervous System / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Small / drug effects
  • Intestine, Small / metabolism
  • Intestine, Small / physiopathology
  • Reflex / drug effects


  • Antidiarrheals
  • Electrolytes
  • Cholera Toxin