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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2016 Sep;44(6):592-600. doi: 10.1111/apt.13738. Epub 2016 Jul 22.

Evidence that independent gut-to-brain and brain-to-gut pathways operate in the irritable bowel syndrome and functional dyspepsia: a 1-year population-based prospective study.

Author information

1
Faculty of Health & Medicine, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia.
2
Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Traditionally, functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) are conceptualised as originating in the brain via stress pathways (brain-to-gut). It is uncertain how many with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional dyspepsia (FD) have a gut origin of symptoms (gut-to-brain pathway).

AIMS:

To determine if there is a distinct brain-to-gut FGID (where psychological symptoms begin first) and separately a distinct gut-to-brain FGID (where gut symptoms start first).

METHODS:

A prospective random population sample from Newcastle, Australia who responded to a validated survey in 2012 and completed a 1-year follow-up survey (n = 1900). The surveys contained questions on Rome III IBS and FD and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.

RESULTS:

We found that higher levels of anxiety and depression at baseline were significant predictors of developing IBS (OR = 1.31; 95% CI 1.06-1.61, P = 0.01; OR = 1.54; 95% CI 1.29-1.83, P < 0.001) and FD (OR = 1.28; 95% CI 1.05-1.55, P = 0.01; OR = 1.55, 95% CI 1.32-1.83, P < 0.001), respectively, at the 1-year follow-up. Among those people who did not have elevated levels of anxiety and depression at baseline, subjects at baseline with documented IBS (mean difference 0.34; 95% CI 0.13-0.55, P = 0.002; 0.81; 95% CI 0.47-1.15, P < 0.001) and FD (0.38; 95% CI 0.14-0.63, P = 0.002; 0.92; 95% CI 0.57-1.27, P < 0.001), reported significantly higher levels of anxiety and depression at the 1-year follow-up. We calculated in one-third of individuals a mood disorder precedes FGID but in two-thirds an FGID precedes the mood disorder.

CONCLUSION:

While brain-gut pathways are bidirectional, a major subset begin with gut symptoms first and only then psychological distress develops, implicating primary gut mechanisms as drivers of the gut and extra-intestinal features in many cases.

PMID:
27444264
DOI:
10.1111/apt.13738
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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