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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2011 Mar;33(6):650-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2010.04565.x. Epub 2011 Jan 10.

Review article: the clinical relevance of transient lower oesophageal sphincter relaxations in gastro-oesophageal reflux disease.

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Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Academic Medical Center Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 9, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Transient lower oesophageal sphincter relaxations (TLOSR) are considered the physiological mechanism that enables venting of gas from the stomach and appear as sphincter relaxations that are not induced by swallowing. It has become increasingly clear that most reflux episodes occur during TLOSRs and therefore play a key role in gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD).


To describe the current knowledge about TLOSRs and its clinical implications.


Search of the literature published in English using the PubMed database and relevant abstracts presented at international conventions.


Several factors influence the rate of TLOSRs including anti-reflux surgery, meal, body position, nutrition, lifestyle and a wide array of neurotransmitters. Ongoing insights in the neurotransmitters responsible for the modulation of TLOSRs, as well as the neural pathways involved in TLOSR induction, have lead to novel therapeutic targets. These therapeutic targets can serve as an add-on therapy in patients with an unsatisfactory response to proton pump inhibitor by inhibiting TLOSRs and its associated reflux events. However, the TLOSR-inhibiting drugs that are currently available still have significant side effects.


It is likely that in the future, selected GERD patients may benefit from transient lower oesophageal sphincter relaxation inhibition when compounds are found without significant side effects.

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