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The enteric nervous system (ENS), considered a separate branch of the autonomic nervous system, is located throughout the length of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract as a series of interconnected ganglionated plexi. Given the proximity of the intestinal microbiota to the ENS, it is perhaps not surprising that the gut microbiota can influence its development and function. However, these interactions are complex and may be either direct or indirect, often involving signalling initiated by microbe-derived components, metabolites or host-derived intermediaries which subsequently affect enteric nerve excitability and GI function. Individual microbes and strains can differentially influence ENS activity and neurochemistry. In this review we will briefly summarise the role of the microbiota on ENS development, and, in some more detail, explore the mechanisms by which the microbiota can influence ENS activity and function.
Hyland, N. P., & Cryan, J. F. (2016, September 15). Microbe-host interactions: Influence of the gut microbiota on the enteric nervous system. Developmental Biology. Academic Press Inc. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2016.06.027