IBS pain relief discovery

Scientists from the University of Adelaide's Nerve-Gut Research Laboratory took blood and biopsies from the colon of 62 patients diagnosed with IBS and from 54 healthy people to examine the differences in immune pain response.

Lead author Dr Patrick Hughes, NHMRC Peter Doherty fellow at the university's School of Medicine, said the gut contains specialised  monocytes and macrophages, and the research showed that in healthy people these immune cells normally secrete B-endorphins that block pain, but in people with IBS, immune-derived β-endorphin levels are lower. 

"This study is the first to give us a real understanding of the interaction between the immune system and pain symptoms in IBS patients," he said.

“It’s no wonder that people with IBS are experiencing ongoing periods of unexplained pain. And if the immune system is defective, it may also mean that painkilling medications taken by the patient to relieve their