INTRODUCTION: Previous studies in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) showed immune activation, secretion, and barrier dysfunction in duodenal, jejunal, or colorectal mucosa. This study aimed to measure ileal mucosal expression of genes and proteins associated with mucosal functions. METHODS: We measured by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of 78 genes (reflecting tight junction proteins, chemokines, innate immunity, ion channels, and transmitters) and 5 proteins (barrier, bile acid receptor, and ion exchanger) in terminal ileal mucosa from 11 patients with IBS-diarrhea (IBS-D), 17 patients with IBS-constipation (IBS-C), and 14 healthy controls. Fold changes in mRNA were calculated using 2(-Δ, ΔCT) formula. Group differences were measured using analysis of variance. Protein ratios relative to healthy controls were based on Western blot analysis. Nominal P values (P < 0.05) are reported. RESULTS: In ileal mucosal biopsies, significant differences of mRNA expression in IBS-D relative to IBS-C were upregulation of barrier proteins (TJP1, FN1, CLDN1, and CLDN12), repair function (TFF1), and cellular functions. In ileal mucosal biopsies, mRNA expression in IBS-C relative to healthy controls was reduced GPBAR1 receptor, myosin light chain kinase (MYLK in barrier function), and innate immunity (TLR3), but increased mRNA expression of cadherin cell adhesion mechanisms (CTNNB1) and transport genes SLC9A1 (Na-H exchanger [NHE1]) and INADL (indirect effect on ion transport). DISCUSSION: These data support a role of ileal mucosal dysfunction in IBS, including barrier dysfunction in IBS-D and alterations in absorption/secretion mechanisms in IBS-C.
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