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Curr Opin Investig Drugs. 2004 Jan;5(1):55-60.

Enterochromaffin cells and 5-HT signaling in the pathophysiology of disorders of gastrointestinal function.

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Mayo Foundation and Mayo Clinic, GI Physiology & Motility, Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 13400 E Shea Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85259, USA.


Disorders of gastrointestinal function are common and significantly reduce quality-of-life, as well as negatively impacting healthcare costs. Consequently, there is much interest in understanding the pathogenesis of these disorders. Increasing, albeit as yet limited, evidence has implicated alterations in 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) release, and the subsequent interaction of 5-HT with specific 5-HT receptor subtypes, in the altered gut function of patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other functional bowel diseases. Alterations to enterochromaffin cells and/or 5-HT signaling can result in gastrointestinal dysmotility, visceral hypersensitivity and secretomotor abnormalities in the gut. Evidence is beginning to link disturbed 5-HT physiology with the pathophysiology of diarrhea and constipation in IBS, and with slow-transit constipation. This review discusses the current evidence on the pathobiology of these systems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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