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Title: The neurobiology of irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most prevalent disorder of brain-gut interactions that affects between 5 and 10% of the general population worldwide. The current symptom criteria restrict the diagnosis to recurrent abdominal pain associated with altered bowel habits, but the majority of patients also report non-painful abdominal discomfort, associated psychiatric conditions (anxiety and depression), as well as other visceral and somatic pain-related symptoms. For decades, IBS was considered an intestinal motility disorder, and more recently a gut disorder. However, based on an extensive body of reported information about central, peripheral mechanisms and genetic factors involved in the pathophysiology of IBS symptoms, a comprehensive disease model of brain-gut-microbiome interactions has emerged, which can explain altered bowel habits, chronic abdominal pain, and psychiatric comorbidities. In this review, we will first describe novel insights into several key components of brain-gut microbiome interactions, starting with reported alterations in the gut connectome and enteric nervous system, and a list of distinct functional and structural brain signatures, and comparing them to the proposed brain alterations in anxiety disorders. We will then point out the emerging correlations between the brain networks with the genomic, gastrointestinal, immune, and gut microbiome-related parameters. We will incorporate this new more » information into a systems-based disease model of IBS. Finally, we will discuss the implications of such a model for the improved understanding of the disorder and the development of more effective treatment approaches in the future.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Molecular Psychiatry
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 1451-1465
Nature Publishing Group
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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