Relative importance of abnormalities of CCK and 5-HT (serotonin) in Giardia-induced post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome and functional dyspepsia


Dr V. Dizdar, Institute of Medicine, University of Bergen, Haukeland University Hospital, NO-5021 Bergen, Norway.


Aliment Pharmacol Ther31, 883–891


Background  Post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome (PI-IBS) and functional dyspepsia (FD) have been described after both Campylobacter jejuni gastroenteritis and Giardia infection. After C. jejuni, there is increased rectal serotonin (5-HT)-containing EC cells and postprandial plasma 5-HT, while a pilot study suggested increased plasma cholecystokinin (CCK) after Giardia infection.

Aim  To determine changes in plasma and duodenal mucosal 5-HT and CCK in Giardia-induced PI-IBS.

Methods  A total of 32 patients previously infected with Giardia and 19 who had recovered fully (controls) completed symptom questionnaires. Endoscopic duodenal biopsies were obtained from all subjects and immunohistochemically stained for CCK, 5-HT and CgA containing entero-endocrine cells and mast cells. 5-HT content was also assessed. Twenty-one of 32 patients and 19 controls consumed a high-carbohydrate meal, while fasting and postprandial plasma CCK and 5-HIAA were measured.

Results  Post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome patients had increased numbers of CCK cells (P = 0.02), but lower numbers of EC cells (P = 0.009). Plasma CCK did not differ significantly between the groups, but correlated significantly with postprandial dyspepsia scores (r = 0.5, P = 0.05). PI-IBS patients had significantly lower plasma 5-HIAA, before and after meal (P = 0.05) as well as more dyspepsia (P < 0.0001) compared with recovered subjects.

Conclusions  Post-infectious bowel dysfunction following Giardia infection is associated with increased duodenal mucosal CCK. Postprandial dyspeptic symptoms correlate better with CCK than measures of 5-HT metabolism.