Published online Apr 7, 2020. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v26.i13.1427
Peer-review started: December 3, 2019
First decision: January 13, 2020
Revised: February 8, 2020
Accepted: March 14, 2020
Article in press: March 14, 2020
Published online: April 7, 2020
Core tip: The pathophysiology of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is not completely understood. Understanding the pathophysiology of IBS may enable us to find an effective treatment for this disorder. The density of intestinal stem cells is low in patients with IBS. Moreover, the differentiation of stem cells into enteroendocrine cells is abnormal. It seems that these abnormalities in intestinal stem cells is the cause of the low density of enteroendocrine cells seen in patients with IBS. It is believed that the low density of enteroendocrine cells is behind the gastrointestinal dysmotility, abnormal secretion/absorption and hypersensitivity observed in patients with IBS. This review presents the observations that suggest that the factors known to contribute to the pathophysiology of IBS may exert their effects through affecting the intestinal stem cells.