Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic and relapsing intestinal inflammatory condition, hallmarked by a disturbance in the bidirectional interaction between gut and brain. In general, the gut/brain axis involves direct and/or indirect communication via the central and enteric nervous system, host innate immune system, and particularly the gut microbiota. This complex interaction implies that IBD is a complex multifactorial disease. There is increasing evidence that stress adversely affects the gut/microbiota/brain axis by altering intestinal mucosa permeability and cytokine secretion, thereby influencing the relapse risk and disease severity of IBD. Given the recurrent nature, therapeutic strategies particularly aim at achieving and maintaining remission of the disease. Alternatively, these strategies focus on preventing permanent bowel damage and concomitant long-term complications. In this review, we discuss the gut/microbiota/brain interplay with respect to chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and particularly shed light on the role of stress. Hence, we evaluated the therapeutic impact of stress management in IBD.
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