Thursday, September 22nd
4:30pm-6:00pm EDT


Topical Workshop


Specific Pain Conditions/Pain in Specific Populations


713 B

Neurobiology of Visceral Pain Disorders as Biopsychosocial Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction

Visceral pain is a core symptom of functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID). Despite their high prevalence, FGID remain poorly understood, therefore treatment remains challenging. The Rome IV expert consensus recently redefined FGID as disorders of gut-brain interaction, acknowledging the central role of the gut-brain axis in etiology and pathogenesis. The gut-brain axis is a bidirectional neurohumoral communication system between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain constituting the (neuro)biological basis for the biopsychosocial model of FGID. (Symptom-specific) psychological processes play an important role as initiating, exacerbating, and/or perpetuating factors. A frequent feature of FGID is increased perceptual sensitivity to noxious visceral stimulation, referred to as visceral hypersensitivity. Although its mechanisms are incompletely understood and may differ between patients, we are starting to unravel the peripheral and central neural mechanisms of visceral pain processing and its modulation by psychological processes including (symptom-specific) fear and anxiety, which may in turn be initiated and perpetuated by pain-related learning and memory processes. Specificity for visceral versus somatic pain remains understudied, but recent studies have shed new light on this question.


Prof. Lukas Van Oudenhove

associate professor
KU Leuven