Overview of Gastrointestinal Toxicology

Gabriella Coruzzi1

1 University of Parma, Parma, Italy
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Toxicology
Unit Number:  Unit 21.1
DOI:  10.1002/0471140856.tx2101s43
Online Posting Date:  February, 2010
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The gastrointestinal (GI) tract has the unique feature of having a huge area for exposure to potentially harmful agents, including concentrated acid, food, chemicals, and pathogens. Research over the past decades has identified some of the key events that are involved in mucosal damage and defense. The enteric nervous system, immune system, and a variety of endocrine and paracrine mediators act in concert to endure mucosal barrier integrity and gut homeostasis. Disruptors of mucosal defense mechanisms include drugs, food allergens and contaminants, metals, chemicals, radiation, and pathogens. A variety of animal experimental models have been set up to detect possible deleterious effects to the GI tract and the potential risk in humans. Curr. Protoc. Toxicol. 43:21.1.1‐21.1.6. © 2010 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Keywords: gastrointestinal (GI) tract; mucosal defense; immune system; acid secretion; motility; intestinal bacteria

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Structure and Functions of the GI Tract
  • Defense Mechanisms of the GI Tract
  • Types and Mechanisms of Toxic Effects
  • Potential Toxicants to the GI Tract
  • Conclusions
  • Literature Cited
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Literature Cited

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Key References
   Gaginella, T.S. (ed). 1996. Handbook of Methods in Gastrointestinal Pharmacology. CRC Press, Florida.
  This book provides a comprehensive coverage of techniques used to investigate the mechanism of action of drugs in the GI tract.
   Walsh, C.T. 1989. Methods in GI toxicology. In Principles and Methods of Toxicology (A.W. Hayes, ed.) pp. 659‐675. Raven Press, New York.
  This book is recommended for practicing toxicologists involved in animal model testing of toxicity. It is a core textbook for general and advanced courses in toxicology.
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