Neuromodulation and Functional Gastrointestinal Disease

Neuromodulation. 2023 Sep 9:S1094-7159(23)00716-X. doi: 10.1016/j.neurom.2023.08.001. Online ahead of print.


Introduction: Functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) are common, and they severely impair an individual's quality of life. The mechanism of pathogenesis and the effective treatments for FGIDs remain elusive. Neuromodulation-a relatively new treatment-has exhibited a good therapeutic effect on FGIDs, although there are different methods for different symptoms of FGIDs.

Materials and methods: We used PubMed to review the history of neuromodulation for the treatment of FGIDs and to review several recently proposed neuromodulation approaches with improved effects on FGIDs.

Conclusion: Electroacupuncture, transcutaneous electroacupuncture, transcutaneous auricular vagal nerve stimulation, sacral nerve stimulation (SNS) (which relies on vagal nerve stimulation), and gastric electrical stimulation (which works through the modulation of slow waves generated by the interstitial cells of Cajal), in addition to the noninvasive neurostimulation alternative approach method of SNS-tibial nerve stimulation and transcutaneous electrical stimulation (which is still in its infancy), are some of the proposed neuromodulation approaches with improved effects on FGIDs. This review has discussed some critical issues related to the selection of stimulation parameters and the underlying mechanism and attempts to outline future research directions backed by the existing literature.

Keywords: Functional gastrointestinal disorders; gut-brain axis; neuromodulation; vagal nerve transmission.

Publication types

  • Review