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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 25 (2011), Issue 5, Pages 277-279
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/478370
Review

Interstitial Cells of Cajal: A Novel Hypothesis for the Pathophysiology of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Ahad Eshraghian and Hamed Eshraghian

Department of Internal Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Science, Shiraz, Fars province, Iran

Received 27 July 2010; Accepted 12 August 2010

Copyright © 2011 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Irritable bowl syndrome (IBS) affects a large proportion of the world’s population, and accounts for a considerable number of visits to gastroenterologists and general practitioners. Despite its high prevalence, the precise mechanism of IBS has not been identified to date. The interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) participate in the production of slow waves and the regulation of their propagation through the gastrointestinal system; thus, they are important components of gastrointestinal motility. The present review proposes that ICC play a central role in the pathophysiology of IBS. This hypothesis is based on many links between ICC and currently proposed mechanisms of IBS pathophysiology. It appears that ICC may be involved in almost all of the previously explained pathogenic mechanisms of IBS. If proven, this hypothesis may provide a key to solving the IBS mystery.