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By Madhusudan Grover
Acute infectious gastroenteritis is one of the most commonly identifiable risk factors for the development of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A number of bacterial, viral and parasitic pathogens have been found to be associated with the development of IBS and other functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders.
Epidemiological studies have identified demographic and acute enteritis-related risk factors for the development of post-infectious-IBS (PI-IBS). Immune dysregulation, alterations in barrier function, serotonergic and mast cell activation have been identified as potential pathophysiological mechanisms.
Additionally, variations in host genes involved in barrier function, antigen presentation and cytokine response have been associated with PI-IBS development.
However, it is unknown whether specific pathogens have unique effects on long-term alterations in gut physiology or different pathogens converge to cause common alterations resulting in similar phenotype.
The role of microbial virulence and pathogenicity factors in development of PI-IBS is also largely unknown. Additionally, alterations in host gut sensation, motility, secretion, and barrier function in PI-IBS need to be elucidated.
Finally, both GI infections and antibiotics used to treat these infections can cause long-term alterations in host commensal microbiota. It is plausible that alteration in the commensal microbiome persists in a subset of patients predisposing them to develop PI-IBS.
Source: Madhusudan Grover. Indian J Med Res 139, January 2014, pp 11-18