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Plasma and gastric mucosal 5-hydroxytryptamine concentrations following cold water intake in patients with diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome


Professor Yan Qing Li, Department of Gastroenterology, Qilu Hospital of Shandong University, Jinan 250012, China. Email:


Background and Aim:  The purpose of the present paper was to investigate the effects of cold water intake on 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) and its metabolite 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid (5-HIAA) in diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (d-IBS) patients, and to observe the relationship between 5-HT and symptomatology.

Methods:  The plasma 5-HT/5-HIAA concentrations at 0, 30 min, 60 min, 90 min, 120 min, 150 min and 180 min following cold or warm water intake were investigated in 32 female subjects with d-IBS and 21 healthy female subjects. Gastric mucosal 5-HT under fasting conditions and following water intake were further investigated in 15 d-IBS patients and nine healthy subjects. Symptomatology was assessed throughout the study.

Results:  The plasma 5-HT concentrations in IBS patients were significantly higher than those of controls at 30 min (P = 0.022), 60 min (P < 0.001), 90 min (P < 0.001), 120 min (P < 0.001) and 150 min (P = 0.001) after cold water intake. The peak plasma 5-HT/5-HIAA and area under the curve for 5-HT/5-HIAA were also higher in d-IBS patients (P < 0.001). Gastric mucosal 5-HT in d-IBS patients and controls did not show any significant differences both under fasting condition (P = 0.596) and after cold water intake (P = 0.426). Last, the d-IBS patients with symptoms had higher 5-HT concentration (P < 0.001) and there was a positive correlation (r = 0.714, P = 0.001)between the symptomatology and plasma 5-HT level.

Conclusions:  These data suggest that symptomatology following cold water intake may be associated with increased plasma 5-HT concentrations in female subjects with d-IBS.