Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) causes chronic or recurring problems with pain and discomfort in the abdomen together with changes in bowel habits. The syndrome is common and is believed to be linked to dysfunction of the stomach and intestines, but our understanding of IBS is incomplete, making it difficult to diagnose and treat.
Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy have now identified specific proteins that can be used to identify patients with IBS:
“The proteins we’ve been investigating, granins, are found in various forms with different functions in the nervous, immune and digestive systems,” explains researcher Lena Öhman. “Our studies show that IBS patients have higher levels of some granins and lower levels of others in their faeces.”
Further studies are needed, but if granins can be used to diagnose IBS, it is hoped that this will contribute to the development of new treatments.
The study, which compared 82 IBS patients with 29 healthy subjects, was published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.