Brief Communication abstract

Nature Medicine 13, 35 - 37 (2006)
Published online: 10 December 2006 | doi:10.1038/nm1521

Lactobacillus acidophilus modulates intestinal pain and induces opioid and cannabinoid receptors

Christel Rousseaux1,2,3, Xavier Thuru1,2,3,10, Agathe Gelot4,5,6,10, Nicolas Barnich7, Christel Neut1,2,3, Laurent Dubuquoy1,2,3, Caroline Dubuquoy1,2,3, Emilie Merour1,2,3, Karen Geboes8, Mathias Chamaillard1,2,3, Arthur Ouwehand9, Greg Leyer9, Didier Carcano9, Jean-Frédéric Colombel1,2,3, Denis Ardid4,5,6 & Pierre Desreumaux1,2,3


Abdominal pain is common in the general population and, in patients with irritable bowel syndrome, is attributed to visceral hypersensitivity. We found that oral administration of specific Lactobacillus strains induced the expression of mu-opioid and cannabinoid receptors in intestinal epithelial cells, and mediated analgesic functions in the gut—similar to the effects of morphine. These results suggest that the microbiology of the intestinal tract influences our visceral perception, and suggest new approaches for the treament of abdominal pain and irritable bowel syndrome.

  1. Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) U795, Hôpital Swynghedauw, Rue A Verhaeghe, 59037 Lille Cedex, France.
  2. University of Lille 2, Hôpital Swynghedauw, Rue A Verhaeghe, 59037 Lille Cedex, France.
  3. Digestive Tract Diseases and Nutrition Department, Huriez Hospital, 1 Place de Verdun, 59037 Lille Cedex, France.
  4. INSERM U766, 28 Place Henri Dunant, BP 38, 63001 Clermont-Ferrand, France.
  5. Laboratoire de Pharmacologie Médicale, University of Clermont 1, Unité de Formation et de Recherche Médecine, 28 Place Henri Dunant, BP 38, 63001 Clermont-Ferrand, France.
  6. Institut Universitaire et Technologique de Biologie, Ensemble Universitaire des Cézeaux, BP 86, 63172 Aubière, France.
  7. Laboratoire de Pathogénie Bactérienne Intestinale, Centre Biomédical de Recherche et de Valorisation, Facultés de Médecine et de Pharmacie, 28 Place Henri Dunant, 63001 Clermont-Ferrand, France.
  8. Department of Pathology and Gastroenterology, University of Leuven, Minderbroedersstraat 12, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.
  9. Danisco Cultures Division, Danisco, 20 Rue Brunel, 75017 Paris, France.
  10. These authors contributed equally to this work.

Correspondence to: Pierre Desreumaux1,2,3 e-mail:


These links to content published by NPG are automatically generated.