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Volume 87 - 2024 - Fasc.1 - Reviews

Efficacy of mast cell directed therapies in irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review

Background and study aim: Lately, mast cells (MCs) are increasingly implicated in the pathophysiology of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The aim of this systematic review was to assess the efficacy of mast cell directed therapies in reducing the main symptoms of IBS: abdominal pain and changes in stool frequency or consistency. Patients and methods: Pubmed, Web of Science and Scopus were searched until December 19, 2022. Trials evaluating the efficacy of mast cell directed therapies, compared to placebo or any form of control group, were included. Trial selection was performed in two stages: screening titles and abstracts and reviewing full papers identified as relevant, taking into account the inclusion criteria. Results: The search strategy identified a total of 1.384 citations. Eleven trials on 943 IBS patients and 197 controls were included: ten randomized controlled trials, two of which cross-over trials, and one cohort study. Of the 11 studies included in the systematic review, only three studies were found to be at low risk of bias. This limited evidence suggests a significant overall improvement in the key symptoms after treatment with disodium cromoglycate, ebastine, ketotifen or palmitoylethanolamide-polydatin compared to control groups. Conclusions: Mast cell modulating therapies could be of significant value in therapy for IBS patients. Further high-quality research is needed to establish the therapeutic efficacy of mast cell targeted therapies in order to draw robust conclusions and improve the clinical management of irritable bowel syndrome.