Candidate genes and sensory functions in health and irritable bowel syndrome

Michael Camilleri, Irene Busciglio, Paula Carlson, Sanna McKinzie, Duane Burton, Kari Baxter, Michael Ryks, Alan R. Zinsmeister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Adrenergic and serotonergic (ADR-SER) mechanisms alter gut (GI) function; these effects are mediated through G protein transduction. Candidate genetic variations in ADR-SER were significantly associated with somatic scores in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastric emptying but not small bowel or colonic transit. Our aim was to assess whether candidate ADR-SER genes are associated with motor and sensory GI functions in IBS and subgroups on the basis of bowel dysfunction. In 122 patients with IBS and 39 healthy controls, we assessed gastrointestinal somatic symptoms and affect by validated questionnaires. We measured: gastric volume (GV), maximum tolerated volume, rectal compliance, sensation thresholds and ratings, and genetic variations including α2A (C-1291G), α2C (Del 332-325), GNβ3 (C825T), and 5-HTTLPR. Demographics and genotype distributions were similar in the patients with IBS subgrouped on bowel function. There were significant associations between 5-HTTLPR SS genotype and absence of IBS symptoms and between 5-HTTLPR LS/SS genotype and increased rectal compliance and increased pain ratings, particularly at 12 and 24 mmHg distensions. GNβ3 was associated only with fasting GV; we did not detect associations between α2A genotype and the gastrointestinal sensory or motor functions tested. We concluded that 5-HTTLPR LS/SS genotype is associated with both increased pain sensation and increased rectal compliance though the latter effect is unlikely to contribute to increased pain sensation ratings with LS/SS genotype. The data suggest the hypotheses that the endophenotype of visceral hypersensitivity in IBS may be partly related to genetic factors, and the association of GNβ3 with fasting GV may explain, in part, the reported association of GNβ3 with dyspepsia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G219-G225
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Adrenergic
  • G protein
  • GNβ3
  • Receptor
  • SLC6A4
  • Serotonergic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Candidate genes and sensory functions in health and irritable bowel syndrome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this