University of Wisconsin–Madison

Characterizing Brain-Gut Interaction In Patients With Crohn’s Disease Using Advanced Neuroimaging Tools

June 2014 to September 2015

Brain‐gut interactions have been studied in chronic pain conditions of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and chronic pancreatitis. These studies suggest that alterations in the brain‐gut axis may relate to disease severity and pain perception. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic inflammatory disorder characterized by periods of disease activity and periods of disease quiescence. Crohn’s disease (CD) is one of the two major subtypes of IBD. Patients with CD typically experience abdominal pain when the disease is active; however, many also report experiencing pain in the absence of objective evidence of inflammation. Alterations in brain‐gut interactions may explain the perception of pain in these patients. Currently, there is a paucity of data regarding brain changes in patients with IBD and CD, specifically. We are proposing a pilot study to characterize brain‐gut interactions of disease activity and pain modulation mechanisms in patients with IBD using advanced neuroimaging tools.

This project led by: Vivek Prabhakaran, MD, PhD