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The role of the endocannabinoid system in the pathophysiology and treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.

Authors
  • Storr, M A
  • Yüce, B
  • Andrews, C N
  • Sharkey, K A
Type
Published Article
Journal
Neurogastroenterology & Motility
Publisher
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2008
Volume
20
Issue
8
Pages
857–868
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2008.01175.x
PMID: 18710476
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a spectrum of disorders characterized by abdominal discomfort and pain, associated with altered bowel habits. Though gut motility, secretion and sensation may be altered in patients with IBS, the pathophysiology of this condition remains to be fully understood. The endocannabinoid system is involved in the regulation of numerous gastrointestinal functions including motility, sensation and secretion under both physiological and pathophysiological conditions. Activation of cannabinoid (CB)(1) and CB(2) receptors under various circumstances reduces motility, limits secretion and decreases hypersensitivity in the gut. Drugs that alter the levels of endocannabinoids in the gut also reduce motility and attenuate inflammation. In this review, we discuss the role of the endocannabinoid system in gastrointestinal physiology. We go on to consider the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in the context of symptoms associated with IBS and a possible role of this system in the pathophysiology and treatment of IBS.

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