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Relationship between psychological state and level of activity of extrinsic gut innervation in patients with a functional gut disorder

Emmanuel, A.V.; Kamm, M.A.; Mason, H.J.; (2001) Relationship between psychological state and level of activity of extrinsic gut innervation in patients with a functional gut disorder. Gut , 49 (2) pp. 209-213. 10.1136/gut.49.2.209. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Anxiety and depression are known to be associated with alterations in central autonomic activity, and this may manifest as a functional gut disturbance. However, the final expression of motility disturbance is non-specific and non-quantifiable. This study examines the relationship between psychological state and psychosocial functioning with a new direct measure of the level of activity of extrinsic autonomic gut innervation, rectal mucosal Doppler blood flow. Materials and methods: Thirty four female patients (mean age 36 years, range 19-45) with constipation for greater than five years and 19 healthy women (mean age 38 years, range 21-60) were studied. They completed the general health questionnaire28 point scale (GHQ-28; psychosocial functioning) and the Bem sex role inventory (BSRI; an index of women's psychological feelings about their own femininity). On the same day they underwent measurement of rectal mucosal Doppler blood flow, a new validated measure of the activity of gut extrinsic nerve innervation. Measurements were made during the follicular phase and in the fasted state. Results: Women with constipation scored higher on the total GHQ-28 score and the somatisation (p=0.05) and anxiety (p=0.05) subscales of the GHQ-28. There was a negative correlation between mucosal blood flow and GHQ somatisation subscale (r=0.45, p<0.005), anxiety (r=0.38, p<0.05), and depression (r=0.40, p<0.01) scores in women with constipation. Although constipated women scored no higher than controls on the BSRI, there was a significant negative correlation between blood flow and BSRI score (r=0.49, p<0.005) for constipated women. Conclusions: General psychosocial function, somatisation, anxiety, depression, and feelings about female role are impaired in women with constipation and associated with altered rectal mucosal blood flow, a measure of extrinsic gut innervation. These findings suggest that psychological factors are likely to influence gut function via autonomic efferent neural pathways.

Type: Article
Title: Relationship between psychological state and level of activity of extrinsic gut innervation in patients with a functional gut disorder
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/gut.49.2.209
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gut.49.2.209
Language: English
Additional information: Published by BMJ
Keywords: Gut function, gut innervation, constipation, psychological state
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine > Nephrology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/7521
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