Glutamatergic plasticity within neurocircuits of the dorsal vagal complex and the regulation of gastric functions

Courtney Clyburn, Kirsteen N. Browning

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The meticulous regulation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is required for the coordination of gastric motility and emptying, intestinal secretion, absorption, and transit as well as for the overarching management of food intake and energy homeostasis. Disruption of GI functions is associated with the development of severe GI disorders and the alteration of food intake and caloric balance. Functional GI disorders as well as the dysregulation of energy balance and food intake are frequently associated with, or result from, alterations in the central regulation of GI control. The faithful and rapid transmission of information from the stomach and upper GI tract to second-order neurons of the nucleus of the tractus solitarius (NTS) relies on the delicate modulation of excitatory glutamatergic transmission, as does the relay of integrated signals from the NTS to parasympathetic efferent neurons of the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMV). Many studies have focused on understanding the physiological and pathophysiological modulation of these glutamatergic synapses, although their role in the control and regulation of GI functions has lagged behind that of cardiovascular and respiratory functions. The purpose of this review is to examine the current literature exploring the role of glutamatergic transmission in the DVC in the regulation of GI functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G880-G887
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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