Mapping irritable bowel syndrome



Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal (GI) disorder that can include debilitating symptoms with significant healthcare and productivity costs. Various GI disorders and conditions, including IBS, are associated with changes in gastrointestinal permeability (GIP). The causes and progression underlying IBS, as well as the clinical implications of increased GIP, are unclear, making accurate diagnoses of gastrointestinal dysfunctions difficult to achieve.


IRP researchers led by Wendy Henderson, Ph.D., M.S.N., C.R.N.P., adapted, developed, and tested a protocol for examining GI permeability using a single 4-probe solution in patients with and without IBS, showing that colonic permeability was significantly decreased in the IBS patients and demonstrating clinical efficacy of the new diagnostic approach. Dr. Henderson’s group went on to discover that the expression of two microRNAs (miRNAs) with links to pain and inflammatory pathways were up-regulated in patients with IBS.


The ability to fully characterize an individual’s GI permeability profile along the entire GI tract using a novel 4-probe method for analysis may help clinicians make more informed diagnoses. Furthermore, discovery of the two IBS-correlated miRNAs provides a new path for development of less invasive diagnostic biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets for those who suffer with the symptoms of IBS.


Del Valle-Pinero AY, van Deventer HE, Fourie N, Martino AC, Remaley AT, Patel NS, Henderson WA. (2013). Gastrointestinal permeability in patients with irritable bowel syndrome assessed using a four probe permeability solution. Clinica Chimica Acta. 418:97-101.

Fourie N, Peace RM, Abey SA, Sherwin LB, Rahim-Williams B, Smyser PA, Wiley J, Henderson WA. (2014). Elevated miR-150 and miR-342-3p in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Experimental Molecular Pathology. 96(3):422-5.

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This page was last updated on Friday, June 16, 2023