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Interaction between preprandial and postprandial rectal sensory and motor abnormalities in IBS
  1. Hans Törnblom1,2,
  2. Lukas Van Oudenhove3,
  3. Jan Tack3,
  4. Magnus Simrén1,2
  1. 1Department of Internal Medicine, Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
  2. 2University of Gothenburg Centre for Person-Centered Care (GPCC), Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
  3. 3Translational Research Center for Gastrointestinal Disorders (TARGID), University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Dr Hans Törnblom, Department of Internal Medicine, Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg SE-41345, Sweden; hans.tornblom{at}


Background and aims Rectal sensory and motor interactions in patients with IBS have not been studied in detail. The aim of this study was to evaluate fasting and postprandial rectal sensorimotor characteristics and their interactions in IBS compared with healthy controls.

Design We included 274 patients with IBS and 34 controls. All subjects underwent a rectal barostat study before and 60 min after a standardised liquid meal (800 kcal; 60% fat). Sensory thresholds, intensity of sensations, viscerosomatic referral and compliance were measured. During 15 min before the first distension sequence and until 50 min after meal intake, rectal balloon volumes were registered in 5 min intervals at operating pressure to quantify rectal tone. Mixed models were used to analyse the rectal tone response over time.

Results Rectal sensory thresholds and compliance were decreased and viscerosomatic referral areas increased in patients with IBS compared with controls. Meal intake increased rectal sensitivity, compliance and referral areas in patients and controls and the same proportions of patients were hypersensitive to distension before and after meal intake. There was a higher basal rectal tone in IBS and a significantly different rectal tone response after meal intake in patients with IBS compared with controls and, interestingly, also in IBS with rectal hypersensitivity (defined in the preprandial state), compared with normosensitive patients.

Conclusions Meal intake affects rectal sensorimotor function in IBS and health. Importantly, the rectal tone responses to a high-caloric meal are different between patients with IBS and controls, as well as between hypersensitive and normosensitive patients with IBS.


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