Mechanisms of diarrhea in inflammatory bowel diseases

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 May;1165:285-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04039.x.


Diarrhea is a frequent symptom/sign in patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease (inflammatory bowel diseases), and several different mechanisms likely account for this diarrhea. As treatment of diarrhea is dependent on the pathogenetic process(es) responsible for diarrhea, increased understanding of the pathophysiology of diarrhea will help improve therapy. Inflammation is central to the diarrhea in patients with ulcerative colitis, while in Crohn's disease both inflammatory and noninflammatory mechanisms are responsible. This presentation summarizes the pathophysiology of diarrhea in both ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Colitis, Ulcerative / complications
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / metabolism
  • Crohn Disease / complications
  • Crohn Disease / metabolism
  • Diarrhea / etiology*
  • Diarrhea / therapy
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / complications
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / metabolism*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Tight Junctions / metabolism