Published online Oct 21, 2014. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i39.14105
Revised: April 18, 2014
Accepted: May 26, 2014
Published online: October 21, 2014
Core tip: A dysregulated gut-brain axis may be responsible for the main features of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, the role of the gut microbiota is an underappreciated but critical node in this construct. Numerous clinical studies have documented various alterations in the composition of the gut microbiota in IBS, indicating defects in stability and diversity of this virtual organ. Manipulation of the gut microbiome influences the symptom profile in IBS and clear mechanisms have been elucidated to explain these interactions. This has important clinical implications and may offer hope for future treatment options to alleviate the suffering caused by this debilitating disorder.