The pathophysiology of nausea and vomiting in gastroparesis is complicated and multifaceted involving the collaboration of both the peripheral and central nervous systems. Most treatment strategies and studies performed in gastroparesis have focused largely on the peripheral effects of this disease, while our understanding of the central nervous system mechanisms of nausea in this entity is still evolving. The ability to view the brain with different neuroimaging techniques has enabled significant advances in our understanding of the central emetic reflex response. However, not enough studies have been performed to further explore the brain–gut mechanisms involved in nausea and vomiting in patients with gastroparesis. The purpose of this review article is to assess the current status of brain imaging and summarize the theories about our present understanding on the central mechanisms involved in nausea and vomiting (N/V) in patients with gastroparesis. Gaining a better understanding of the complex brain circuits involved in the pathogenesis of gastroparesis will allow for the development of better antiemetic prophylactic and treatment strategies.
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