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Type: Journal article
Title: The ageing gastrointestinal tract
Author: Soenen, S.
Rayner, C.
Jones, K.
Horowitz, M.
Citation: Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, 2016; 19(1):12-18
Publisher: Wolters Kluwer Health
Issue Date: 2016
ISSN: 1363-1950
Statement of
Soenen, Stijn, Rayner, Christopher K., Jones, Karen L., Horowitz, Michael
Abstract: Purpose of review: This article reviews the impact of ageing on the gastrointestinal tract, including effects on the absorption of nutrients and drugs and the gastrointestinal tract defence system against ingested pathogens. Recent findings: Recent publications support earlier observations of an age-related selective decline in gut function including changes in taste, oesophageal sphincter motility, gastric emptying, and neurons of the myenteric plexus related to gut transit which may impact the nutritional status. Ageing is also associated with structural and functional mucosal defence defects, diminished abilities to generate protective immunity, and increased incidence of inflammation and oxidative stress. A number of gastrointestinal disorders occur more frequently in the elderly population. Summary: Alterations in gut function with ageing have particular implications for oesophageal, gastric, and colonic motility. Older individuals are particularly susceptible to malnutrition, postprandial hypotension, dysphagia, constipation, and faecal incontinence. Decrease in the number of nerve cells of the myenteric plexus that impact digestive absorption and the surface area of the small intestine because of degeneration of villi may lead to blunted absorption of nutrients. Impairment of the intestinal immune system as a result of ageing, including the mucosal layer of the gastrointestinal tract, appears to be a significant contributor to the age-related increase in the incidence and severity of infections.
Keywords: Absorption of nutrients and drugs; constipation; gastric emptying; mucosal defence system; myenteric plexus
Rights: Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000238
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