Increasingly our understanding of IBS is that it is a heterogeneous disorder – that is, multiple factors contribute to the well defined symptoms of the disorder. One of these suspected underlying dysfunctions involves serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter or messenger to nerves.
Most serotonin in the body is in cells that line the gut where it senses what is going on and through receptors signals nerves that stimulate a response. The serotonin must then be reabsorbed (a process called re-uptake) into cells. This process appears to be disrupted in people with IBS.
Serotonin and SERT
How does serotonin affect gut function? An interview with Gary M. Mawe, PhD, Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT. Dr. Mawe is a basic scientist.