Brain and Gut Interactions in Irritable Bowel Syndrome: New Paradigms and New Understandings
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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is characterized by abdominal pain and altered bowel habits. Visceral hypersensitivity is believed to be a key underlying mechanism that causes pain. There is evidence that interactions within the brain and gut axis (BGA), that involves both the afferent-ascending and the efferent-descending pathways, as well as the somatosensory cortex, insula, amygdala, anterior cingulate cortex, and hippocampus, are deranged in IBS showing both the activation and inactivation. Clinical manifestations of IBS such as pain, altered gut motility, and psychological dysfunction may each be explained, in part, through the changes in the BGA, but there is conflicting information, and its precise role is not fully understood. A better understanding of the BGA may shed more knowledge regarding the pathophysiology of IBS that in turn may lead to the discovery of novel therapies for this common disorder.
KeywordsIrritable bowel syndrome Brain-gut axis Cortical-evoked potentials Stress CRF Serotonin
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Dr. Rao and Dr. Coss-Adame declare no conflict of interest.
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