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Yonsei Med J. 2010 Jan;51(1):45-51. doi: 10.3349/ymj.2010.51.1.45. Epub 2009 Dec 29.

Increased immunoendocrine cells in intestinal mucosa of postinfectious irritable bowel syndrome patients 3 years after acute Shigella infection--an observation in a small case control study.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei Institute of Gastroenterology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.



Postinfectiously irritable bowel syndrome (PI-IBS) develops in 3-30% of individuals with bacterial gastroenteritis. Recent studies demonstrated increases in inflammatory components in gut mucosa of PI-IBS patients even after complete resolution of infection. We aimed to investigate histological changes in colon and rectum of PI-IBS subjects after long term period of infection.


We recruited PI-IBS subjects who had been diagnosed IBS after complete resolution of enteritis caused by shigellosis outbreak 3 years earlier. We compared unmatched four groups, PI-IBS (n = 4), non PI-IBS (n = 7), D-IBS (n = 7, diarrhea predominant type) and healthy controls (n = 10). All of them underwent colonoscopic biopsy at three areas, including descending colon (DC), sigmoid colon (SC) and rectum, which were assessed for 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)/peptide YY (PYY)-containing enterochromaffin (EC) cell, intraepithelial (IEL) and lamina propria T lymphocyte (CD3), CD8 lymphocytes, mast cells and CD68/calprotectin+ macrophages.


All subjects had no structural or gross abnormalities at colonoscopy. In PI-IBS, 5-HT containing EC cells, PYY containing EC cells, IELs, CD3 lymphocytes, CD8 lymphocytes, mast cells, and CD68 + macrophages were increased compared to control (p < 0.05). In D-IBS, PYY containing EC cells, IELs, and CD3 lymphocytes were increased compared to control (p < 0.05). In PI-IBS, 5-HT containing EC cells tended to increase and PYY containing EC cells, CD8 lymphocytes, mast cells, and CD68+ macrophages were increased compared to non PI-IBS (p < 0.05). Calprotectin + marcrophages were decreased in PI-IBS, non PI-IBS and IBS compared to control.


The immunoendocrine cells were sporadically increased in PI-IBS, non PI-IBS and D-IBS compared with control. Our findings in a very small number of patients suggest that mucosal inflammation may play a role in long-term PI-IBS, and that other sub-groups of IBS and larger scale studies are needed to confirm this observation.


Post infectious irritable bowel syndrome; T lymphocyte; enterochromaffin cell; macrophage; mast cell

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