5-hydroxytryptamine signalling in irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhoea: Effects of gender and menstrual status

L. A. Houghton, H. Brown, W. Atkinson, J. Morris, C. Fell, P. J. Whorwell, S. Lockhart, B. Keevil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Symptomatology and physiology differ between men and women and across the menstrual cycle in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Ovarian hormones influence 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), an amine known to play a role in gut motor-sensory function. Aim To assess the effects of gender and menstrual status on platelet-depleted plasma (PDP) 5-HT concentration in IBS patients with diarrhoea (IBS-D) patients compared with healthy volunteers (HV). Methods Platelet-depleted plasma 5-HT concentrations were assessed under fasting and fed conditions in 73 IBS-D patients (aged 18-58 years; 18 men) and 64 HV (aged 18-50 years; 24 men). Women were divided into those with low or high progesterone/oestrogen (P/O) levels. Results Irritable bowel syndrome patients with diarrhoea had higher PDP 5-HT concentrations than HV under fasting (P = 0.002) and fed (P = 0.049) conditions. This was particularly related to IBS-D men having higher PDP 5-HT concentrations than healthy controls (P = 0.002). Moreover, PDP 5-HT concentrations in IBS-D women with low P/O levels were similar to healthy controls. Conclusions Similar to IBS-D women with high P/O levels, IBS-D men also have raised PDP 5-HT concentrations. 5-HT concentration normalizes at menses in IBS-D women, suggesting a shift in the mechanisms responsible for abnormal 5-HT signalling in these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)919-929
Number of pages11
JournalAlimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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