Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a
multifactorial chronic disorder characterized by various abdominal complaints
and a worldwide prevalence of 10% - 20%. Although its
etiology and pathophysiology are complex and still not completely understood,
aberrations along the microbe-gut-brain axis are known to play a central role.
IBS is characterized by interrelated alterations in intestinal barrier function,
gut microbe composition, immune activation, afferent sensory signaling and
brain activity. Pharmaceutical treatment is generally ineffective and, hence,
most therapeutic strategies are based on non-drug approaches. A promising
option is the administration of probiotics, in which lactic acid bacteria
strains are considered specifically beneficial. This review aims to provide a
concise, although comprehensive, overview of the role of lactic acid bacteria
in the pathophysiology and treatment of IBS.