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Role of visceral sensitivity in the pathophysiology of irritable bowel syndrome
  1. M Delvaux
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr M Delvaux, Gastroenterology Unit, CHU Rangueil, F-31403 Toulouse Cedex 04, France;


Visceral hypersensitivity has been recognised as a characteristic of patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It may be involved in the pathogenesis of abdominal pain/discomfort, and seems to result from the sensitisation of nerve afferent pathways originating from the gastrointestinal tract. From a clinical point of view, hypersensitivity, although frequent, is not a constant finding among patients with IBS and cannot therefore be considered as a diagnostic marker of the condition. The advances made in understanding visceral hypersensitivity in patients with IBS are reviewed: the factors that influence abdominal distension are defined and different therapeutic perspectives are examined.

  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • pathophysiology
  • neuromediators
  • hypervigilance
  • distension tests
  • CNS, central nervous system
  • IBS, irritable bowel syndrome
  • NTS, nucleus of the tractus solitarius

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