Background: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is characterized by recurrent abdominal pain and altering bowel habit with a high percentage of patients displaying comorbid anxiety. Growing clinical and preclinical evidence suggests that probiotic agents may restore the altered brain-gut communication in IBS. In this study, we evaluated the efficacy of repeated treatment with three different probiotics in reducing visceral pain in visceral normosensitive (Sprague-Dawley [SD]) and visceral hypersensitive (Wistar-Kyoto [WKY]) rat strains.
Methods: Following 14 days oral gavage of Lactobacillus salivarius UCC118, Bifidobacterium infantis 35624, or Bifidobacterium breve UCC2003 both SD and WKY rats were exposed to a novel stress, the open field arena and their behavior was recorded. Subsequently, the effects of probiotics on visceral nociceptive responses were analyzed by recording pain behaviors during colorectal distension (CRD).
Key results: It was found that there was a difference in the open field behavior between strains but none of the probiotic treatment altered behavior within each strain. Interestingly, the probiotic B. infantis 35624 but not others tested significantly reduced CRD-induced visceral pain behaviors in both rat strains. It significantly increased the threshold pressure of the first pain behavior and also reduced the total number pain behaviors during CRD.
Conclusions & inferences: These data confirm that probiotics such as B. infantis 35624 are effective in reducing visceral pain and may be effective in treating certain symptoms of IBS.