Irritable bowel syndrome, the microbiota and the gut-brain axis

Gut Microbes. 2016 Sep 2;7(5):365-83. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2016.1218585. Epub 2016 Jul 29.


Irritable bowel syndrome is a common functional gastrointestinal disorder and it is now evident that irritable bowel syndrome is a multi-factorial complex of changes in microbiota and immunology. The bidirectional neurohumoral integrated communication between the microbiota and the autonomous nervous system is called the gut-brain-axis, which integrates brain and GI functions, such as gut motility, appetite and weight. The gut-brain-axis has a central function in the perpetuation of irritable bowel syndrome and the microbiota plays a critical role. The purpose of this article is to review recent research concerning the epidemiology of irritable bowel syndrome, influence of microbiota, probiota, gut-brain-axis, and possible treatment modalities on irritable bowel syndrome.

Keywords: gut-brain axis; irritable bowel syndrome; microbiota.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / microbiology*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / physiopathology