Published online Jul 7, 2015. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i25.7621
Peer-review started: February 28, 2015
First decision: March 26, 2015
Revised: March 31, 2015
Accepted: May 21, 2015
Article in press: May 21, 2015
Published online: July 7, 2015
Core tip: There are several factors that play a major role in the pathophysiology of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). These factors are genetic disposition, diet, the intestinal microbiota, and mucosal low-grade inflammation. These factors are known to affect the gastrointestinal endocrine cells, with the densities of intestinal endocrine cells being reduced in IBS patients. The reduction in the gastrointestinal endocrine cells seems to be caused by abnormal clonogenic and differentiation activities of the intestinal stem cells. The abnormalities in the gastrointestinal endocrine cells can explain the visceral hypersensitivity, disturbed gastrointestinal motility, and abnormal gut secretion observed in IBS patients.