Alterations in serotonin (5-HT) metabolism have been postulated to play a role in the pathogenesis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, previous reports regarding 5-HT metabolism in IBS are contradicting.
To compare platelet poor plasma (PPP) 5-HT and 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid (5-HIAA) levels and their ratio in a large cohort of IBS patients and healthy controls (HC), including IBS-subgroup analysis.
Irritable bowel syndrome patients and HC were evaluated for fasting PPP 5-HT and 5-HIAA levels. Furthermore, GI-symptom diary, GSRS, quality of life, anxiety and depression scores were assessed in the 2 weeks before blood sampling.
One hundred and fifty four IBS patients and 137 HC were included. No differences were detected in plasma 5-HT between groups. The 5-HIAA concentrations and 5-HIAA/5-HT ratio were significantly lower in IBS compared to HC: 24.6 +/- 21.9 vs. 39.0 +/- 29.5 mu g/L (P <0.001) and 8.4 +/- 12.2 vs. 13.5 +/- 16.6 (P <0.01), respectively. Subtype analysis for 5-HIAA showed all IBS subtypes to be significantly different from HC. The 5-HIAA/5-HT ratio was significantly lower in the IBS-M subtype vs. HC. Linear regression analysis points to an influence of gender but not of GI-symptoms, psychological scores or medication use.
We demonstrated that fasting 5-HT plasma levels are not significantly different in IBS patients compared to controls. However, decreased 5-HIAA levels and 5-HIAA/5-HT ratio in IBS patients may reflect altered serotonin metabolism in IBS. Gender affects 5-HIAA levels in IBS patients, but no effects of drugs, such as SSRIs, or higher GI-symptom or psychological scores were found.
- PLASMA 5-HYDROXYTRYPTAMINE CONCENTRATION
- PLATELET-POOR PLASMA
- DEPRESSION SCALE
- HOSPITAL ANXIETY