Patients with allergic or autoimmune diseases are at higher risk for functional gastrointestinal disorders independent of psychological distress, according to research published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics.
Nicholas J. Talley, MD, PhD, of the faculty of health & medicine at the University of Newcastle in Australia, and colleagues wrote that immune activation appears to be a significant factor in the development of FGIDs.
“Evidence for innate immune activation in the mucosa in [irritable bowel syndrome] and [functional dyspepsia] has been observed, but the prevalence of immune activation in FGIDs is uncertain,” they wrote.
Talley and colleagues randomly selected 3,542 people from the Australian population (mean age 57.9 years; 52.7% female) and mailed them a survey that included questions about diagnosed autoimmune or allergic conditions. The questionnaire also assessed psychological distress and Rome III criteria for FD or IBS.
Researchers found that asthma, food, pollen and animal allergies, as well as psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis were independently associated with IBS and FD. After controlling for age, sex and psychological distress, they found that psoriasis (OR = 1.81; 95% CI, 1.19–2.74), food allergy (OR = 1.66; 95% CI, 1.15–2.4) and rheumatoid arthritis (OR = 1.32; 95% CI, 1.04–1.68) were independent risk factors for IBS, while asthma (OR = 1.32; 95% CI, 1.04–1.68) and food allergy (OR = 1.78; 95% CI, 1.28–2.49) were risk factors for FD.
Talley and colleagues wrote that while many FGIDs are linked to anxiety or other psychological conditions, their findings show that certain kinds have other causes.
“Specific atopic and autoimmune diseases are risk factors for IBS and FD that are not accounted for by psychological distress,” they wrote. “This suggests that different peripheral pathways may be involved in the pathogenesis of certain FGIDs.” – by Alex Young
Disclosures: Talley reports financial ties to Abbott, Adelphi Values, Allergens PLC, Datapharm, GI Therapies, Janssen, Napo, Outpost Medicine, Pfizer, Prometheus Laboratories, Salix, Samsung Bioepis, Synergy and Theravance. Please see the full study or all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.