Interstitial Cells of Cajal and Enteric Nervous System in Gastrointestinal and Neurological Pathology, Relation to Oxidative Stress
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Enteric nervous systemInterstitial cells of CajalOxidative stressNeurodegenerationMyenteric plexus
López-Pingarrón, L.; Almeida, H.; Soria-Aznar, M.; Reyes-Gonzales, M.C.; Rodríguez- Moratinos, A.B.; Muñoz-Hoyos, A.; García, J.J. Interstitial Cells of Cajal and Enteric Nervous System in Gastrointestinal and Neurological Pathology, Relation to Oxidative Stress. Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2023, 45, 3552–3572. [https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb45040232]
The enteric nervous system (ENS) is organized into two plexuses—submucosal and myenteric—which regulate smooth muscle contraction, secretion, and blood flow along the gastrointestinal tract under the influence of the rest of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs) are mainly located in the submucosa between the two muscle layers and at the intramuscular level. They communicate with neurons of the enteric nerve plexuses and smooth muscle fibers and generate slow waves that contribute to the control of gastrointestinal motility. They are also involved in enteric neurotransmission and exhibit mechanoreceptor activity. A close relationship appears to exist between oxidative stress and gastrointestinal diseases, in which ICCs can play a prominent role. Thus, gastrointestinal motility disorders in patients with neurological diseases may have a common ENS and central nervous system (CNS) nexus. In fact, the deleterious effects of free radicals could affect the fine interactions between ICCs and the ENS, as well as between the ENS and the CNS. In this review, we discuss possible disturbances in enteric neurotransmission and ICC function that may cause anomalous motility in the gut.