Modulation of intestinal inflammation through nerve stimulation

Project Details

Neuromodulation (also known as electroceuticals) is a rapidly expanding field. In this project, we are testing how this therapy can be applied to inflammatory bowel disease.

This study aims to find novel therapeutic options for diseases associated with excessive or chronic inflammatory states.

The innate immune system is the first response to invading pathogens.  When challenged, the host needs an adequate inflammatory reaction but also needs to prevent collateral damage to tissues due to excessive systemic spread of inflammation and release of inflammatory mediators. Excessive inflammation underlies the pathogenesis of a range of disease syndromes, including sepsis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and other inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.

In this project you will help develop new ways to activate the endogenous mechanisms that prevent or neutralize excessive proinflammatory responses.  The project will include using animal models of gut inflammation, in vivo nerve recordings and histology.


Project supervisor:

  • Dr Martin Stebbing

Project members:

  • Professor Robin McAllen, Professor John Furness


  • Professor Robert Shepherd
  • Dr Sophie Payne

Research Publications

MAPK/NF-κB signaling in the activation of the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway in experimental colitis by chronic vagus nerve stimulation. PLoS One 8, e69424 (2013).

Payne, SC, Shepherd, RK, Sedo, A, Fallon, JB, Furness JB: An objective in vivo diagnostic method for inflammatory bowel disease. Royal Society Open Science 5: 180107 (2018) DOI: 10.1098/rsos.180107

Research Group

Furness laboratory: Digestive physiology and nutrition

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology, Neuroscience

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Anatomy and Neuroscience

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