Painful interactions: Microbial compounds and visceral pain

I. A.M. van Thiel, S. Botschuijver, W. J. de Jonge, J. Seppen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Visceral pain, characterized by abdominal discomfort, originates from organs in the abdominal cavity and is a characteristic symptom in patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, vulvodynia or interstitial cystitis. Most organs in which visceral pain originates are in contact with the external milieu and continuously exposed to microbes. In order to maintain homeostasis and prevent infections, the immune- and nervous system in these organs cooperate to sense and eliminate (harmful) microbes. Recognition of microbial components or products by receptors expressed on cells from the immune and nervous system can activate immune responses but may also cause pain. We review the microbial compounds and their receptors that could be involved in visceral pain development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number165534
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Microbiome
  • Nociception
  • Pain

Cite this