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Taking on the challenge: Food sensitivity, intolerance and altered microbiota in irritable bowel syndrome

Guest edited by:  Prof Giacomo Caio, Prof Giovanni Barbara, Prof Roberto De Giorgio, Prof Vincenzo Stanghellini


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a prototype functional bowel disorder affecting about 11% of the global population. IBS is a chronic disorder, characterized by a variety of disabling symptoms and associated manifestations, which significantly diminish quality of life in patients. Given the still limited clinically relevant data about its pathophysiology, IBS has a strong therapeutic unmet need affecting clinical practice of physicians in most countries

IBS symptoms can be triggered by multiple mechanisms, including altered gut-brain axis cross-talk, stress, enteric nerve-immune system interactions, previous gastrointestinal infections, sensory-motor abnormalities, and a variety of luminal factors such as dietary factors, altered epithelial barrier and gut microbiota changes (i.e. ‘dysbiosis’).

Deciphering the complexity is a fundamental step to better manage and treat patients with IBS. In this collection, BMC Medicine will include articles providing a clinically relevant view of the most recent findings on this multifaceted condition.

We are particularly interested in the following topics:

  • Food and IBS
  • New therapies and advances
  • In search of biomarkers: new diagnostic tests
  • The microbiota in IBS
  • Pathophysiological mechanisms
  • The clinical conundrum: Overlapping functional syndromes
  • IBS and most commonly associated extraintestinal manifestations

We are principally interested in contributions that can be readily understood by a broad audience, with implications not only for researchers, but also clinical practitioners, policy makers, and public health.

We welcome direct submission of original research within the article collection's scope. Please submit directly to BMC Medicine, indicating in your cover letter that you are targeting this collection. Alternatively, you can email a pre-submission query to the editorial team at The collection will remain open and accept submissions for one year after launch.


  1. Accessed 15 March 2021
  2. Canavan C, West J, Card T. The epidemiology of irritable bowel syndrome. Clin Epidemiol. 2014 Feb 4;6:71-80. doi: 10.2147/CLEP.S40245. Accessed 15 March 2021

Guest Editors provided guidance on the scope of this collection and advised on commissioned content. However, they are not involved in editorial decision-making on papers submitted to this collection. All final editorial decisions are with the Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Lin Lee.

  1. Extraintestinal symptoms are common in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and include depression and fatigue. These are highly prevalent especially in active disease, potentially due to inflammation-mediated ch...

    Authors: Anne Kerstin Thomann, Torsten Wüstenberg, Jakob Wirbel, Laura-Louise Knoedler, Philipp Arthur Thomann, Georg Zeller, Matthias Philip Ebert, Stefanie Lis and Wolfgang Reindl
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2022 20:366
  2. The relationship between non-alcoholic fatty liver degree as well as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) remains poorly understood. We aimed to investigate the prospect...

    Authors: Shanshan Wu, Changzheng Yuan, Zhirong Yang, Si Liu, Qian Zhang, Shutian Zhang and Shengtao Zhu
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2022 20:262
  3. Accumulating evidence now indicates that the presence of faecal haemoglobin, in the absence of gastrointestinal bleeding, may be an indicator of systemic inflammation and is linked to the development of human ...

    Authors: Choong-Kyun Noh, Eunyoung Lee, Bumhee Park and Sung Soo Ahn
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2022 20:226
  4. Ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) has received more and more attentions, because it possesses a lot of beneficial, life-preserving effects in the fields of clinical science and medicine. However, the role of...

    Authors: Chongyang Huang, Jun Wang, Hongbin Liu, Ruo Huang, Xinwen Yan, Mengyao Song, Gao Tan and Fachao Zhi
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2022 20:148
  5. Patients with disorders of gut-brain interaction (DGBI) report meal intake to be associated with symptoms. DGBI patients with meal-related symptoms may have more severe symptoms overall and worse health outcom...

    Authors: Esther Colomier, Chloé Melchior, Joost P. Algera, Jóhann P. Hreinsson, Stine Störsrud, Hans Törnblom, Lukas Van Oudenhove, Olafur S. Palsson, Shrikant I. Bangdiwala, Ami D. Sperber, Jan Tack and Magnus Simrén
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2022 20:71
  6. Studies on allergy-related diseases in relation to abdominal pain-related functional gastrointestinal disorders (AP-FGIDs) in children are few and results are contradictory. We examined the associations betwee...

    Authors: Jessica Sjölund, Inger Kull, Anna Bergström, Jacob Järås, Jonas F. Ludvigsson, Hans Törnblom, Magnus Simrén and Ola Olén
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2021 19:214