ROCHESTER, MN, May 21, 2007-- Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate intestinal functions. Mayo Clinic researchers set out to determine the role of serotonin in patients with IBS and dyspepsia. The study involved 48 females -- including individuals with IBS, individuals with dyspepsia, individuals with both IBS and dyspepsia, and healthy volunteers. Biopsies were obtained from the stomach and intestines of each patient and serotonin levels were measured. Researchers found that patients with dyspepsia had low levels of a serotonin reuptake transporter in their stomachs and high levels of a molecule that synthesizes serotonin in the small intestine.
"The results support the concept that functional disorders may be associated with altered serotonin signaling in different regions of the gut. If the data can be validated, it suggests it may someday be possible to make a diagnosis of functional disease by taking a biopsy," says Amy Foxx-Orenstein, D.O., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and lead author of this study. "Mucosal markers for functional disorders might lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment, but further studies are needed."