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 μ-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.
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We thank the Institut Universitaire de France and Danisco Cultures for their support.
P.D. has received funding for research and clinical studies on probiotics and prebiotics from Danisco, Sanofi-Aventis, Syndifrais, Roquette and Lesaffre, and has also received consultation fees from Danisco, Danone and Roquette. In addition, P.D. is an inventor of patents filed by Danisco.
C.N. has received funding for research studies from Danone and Roquette.
D.C., A.O. and G.L. are employed by Danisco, which produces and markets the NCFM strain.
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Rousseaux, C., Thuru, X., Gelot, A. et al. Lactobacillus acidophilus modulates intestinal pain and induces opioid and cannabinoid receptors. Nat Med 13, 35–37 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/nm1521
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