Research interests

One of the main research lines involves postoperative ileus. We showed that local inflammation is of crucial importance in the pathogenesis of postoperative ileus and thus represents an important target for treatment. Next, we showed that vagal nerve stimulation may represent another new therapeutic approach. Moreover, we demonstrated that the mechanism of action involves inhibition of macrophage activation by interaction with nicotinic receptors. Finally, we unraveled the transduction pathway in the macrophage leading to suppressing of its activity.

Another research line studies the pathophysiology of functional bowel disorders. We further validated a rat model to study the pathophysiology of the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Chronic juvenile stress resulting from maternal separation induces visceral hypersensitivity in separated animals, one of the hallmarks of IBS. Using the model, we demonstrated that mast cell degranulation in response to stress leads to visceral hypersensitivity.

Also at the level of the lower esophageal sphincter, interesting studies leading to different clinical management were started. In collaboration with several European centers, our unit initiated a European trial comparing endoscopic pneumodilation and laparoscopic myotomy as treatment of achalasia. We also finished a phase I trial with a new GABAB agonist as possible new treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease. In this study, we showed efficacy of this new drug, which has led to a new phase I study evaluating a more specific drug with less side effects.

Finally, our pediatricians continued their leading work on child hood defaecation disorders and published several studies on the underlying pathophysiology of constipation and non-retentive faecal soiling.

Research output

  1. Achalasia

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

  2. European Guideline on Achalasia – UEG and ESNM recommendations

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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