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Type: Journal article
Title: Immune activation in irritable bowel syndrome: can neuroimmune interactions explain symptoms?
Author: Hughes, P.
Zola, H.
Penttila, I.
Blackshaw, L.
Andrews, J.
Krumbiegel, D.
Citation: American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2013; 108(7):1066-1074
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Issue Date: 2013
ISSN: 0002-9270
Statement of
Patrick A. Hughes, Heddy Zola, Irmeli A. Penttila, L. Ashley Blackshaw, Jane M. Andrews, and Doreen Krumbiegel
Abstract: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract characterized by pain or discomfort from the lower abdominal region, which is associated with altered bowel habit. Despite its prevalence, there is currently a lack of effective treatment options for patients. IBS has long been considered as a neurological condition resulting from alterations in the brain gut axis, but immunological alterations are increasingly reported in IBS patients, consistent with the hypothesis that there is a chronic, but low-grade, immune activation. Mediators released by immune cells act to either dampen or amplify the activity of GI nerves. Release of a number of these mediators correlates with symptoms of IBS, highlighting the importance of interactions between the immune and the nervous systems. Investigation of the role of microbiota in these interactions is in its early stages, but may provide many answers regarding the mechanisms underlying activation of the immune system in IBS. Identifying what the key changes in the GI immune system are in IBS and how these changes modulate viscerosensory nervous function is essential for the development of novel therapies for the underlying disorder.
Keywords: Gastrointestinal Tract
Antigen-Presenting Cells
Mast Cells
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Immunity, Innate
Adaptive Immunity
Rights: This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit
DOI: 10.1038/ajg.2013.120
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