Through the centuries, humans have had to fight with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, postprandial fullness, abdominal bloating, abdominal discomfort, heartburn, constipation and diarrhea. These symptoms are not always brought about by structural diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. They can, for example, be caused by alterations of gastrointestinal motility and/or sensation. These disorders affect an important percentage of the population and are therefore serious public health problems. Gastroparesis, gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and functional disorders [dyspepsia and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)] are among the most important. Gastroparesis and GERD are disorders that are caused by defects of gastric or lower esophageal sphincter motility. Functional gastrointestinal disorders, like functional dyspepsia and IBS, are considered to be the clinical product of interacting psychosocial factors and altered gut physiology (abnormal motility, altered mucosal immunity, or visceral hypersensitivity) via the brain-gut axis. The aim of this meeting, organized by the Department of Pharmacology and Department of Internal Medicine of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, and Fondazione Internazionale Menarini, is to cover a selected range of basic scientific and clinical topics in the field of gastrointestinal motility and neurogastroenterology. Many cutting-edge themes have been included in the program and the speakers have been chosen among leaders in research involving neurogastroenterology and gastrointestinal motility. We believe this meeting will contribute to improve understanding of the physiology and pathophysiology of neuromuscular behavior in the gastrointestinal tract and related pharmacological and clinical aspects of some motor and functional gastrointestinal disorders. It is therefore addressed to a vast audience - anatomists, physiologists, pharmacologists, pathologists, gastroenterologists and, also, general practitioners, surgeons and other clinicians. The first session of the symposium will focus on providing a state-of-the-art picture of the physiology of gastrointestinal motility. It will lay the groundwork for a better understanding of current and new pharmacological treatments of some of the most important motor and functional gastrointestinal disorders. In particular, the treatment of novel aspects of the regulation of lower esophageal sphincter, stomach and colon motility will contribute to an in-depth analysis of new avenues in the pharmacological treatment of GERD, functional dyspepsia and IBS, topics discussed during the second and third sessions. New pharmacological targets for gastrointestinal disorders will be treated, including the endocannabinoid system, protease-activated receptors and ghrelin receptors, together with “old” pharmacological targets, including serotoninergic and tachykininergic systems, motilin receptors and ion channels. A general picture outlining the pharmacological aspects of functional gastrointestinal diseases and current and new therapies of GERD, functional dyspepsia and IBS will be also offered during the second and third sessions. The general topic of gastroparesis will be treated, by talking about new avenues in the development of prokinetic drugs. And last, but not least, new approaches to the treatment of opioid-induced constipation will be discussed. Hopeful that this symposium will arouse great interest within the scientific community, we will be very happy to welcome you to Rome at the end of September this year.
Paolo Preziosi and Giovanni Gasbarrini Co-Presidents of the Meeting