Scientists on brink of identifying irritable bowel syndrome's cause: 4 study insights

A study published in Science Translational Medicine examined how changes in gut microbiota were relevant to the clinical expression of irritable bowel syndrome.

Hamilton, Ontario-based McMaster University researcher Giada De Palma, PhD, and colleagues evaluated commensal gut bacteria's role in IBS in germ-free mice. Researchers colonized the mice with fecal microbiota from healthy control patients or irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea patients, with or without anxiety. They then monitored gut function and behavior.

Here are four study insights:

1. Microbiota profiles in recipient mice clustered similar to human donors.

2. Mice with IBS-D microbiota had taxonomically similar microbial compositions to mice with health control fecal microbiota.

3. The IBS-D mice had different serum metabolic profiles.

4. IBS-D mice exhibited faster gastrointestinal transit, intestinal barrier dysfunction, innate immune activation and anxiety-like behavior.

Researchers concluded, "These results indicate the potential of the gut microbiota to contribute to both intestinal and behavioral manifestations of IBS-D and suggest the potential value of microbiota-directed therapies in IBS patients."

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