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Review article: Functional dyspepsia-a gastric disorder, a duodenal disorder or a combination of both?

BACKGROUND: Functional dyspepsia (FD) is one of the most frequent conditions in gastroenterological outpatient health care. Most recent research in FD has shifted its focus to duodenal pathophysiological mechanisms, although current treatments still focus mainly the stomach.

AIM: The aim of the study was to provide a comprehensive overview of the pathophysiology of FD focusing on a paradigm shift from gastric towards duodenal mechanisms.

METHODS: We conducted a literature search in PubMed for studies describing mechanisms that could possibly cause FD.

RESULTS: The pathophysiology of FD remains incompletely understood. Recent studies show that duodenal factors such as acid, bile salt exposure and eosinophil and mast cell activation correlate with symptom pattern and burden and can be associated with gastric sensorimotor dysfunction. The evolving data identify the duodenum an interesting target for new therapeutic approaches. Furthermore, the current first-line treatment, that is proton pump inhibitors, reduces duodenal low-grade inflammation and FD symptoms.

CONCLUSION: Future research for the treatment of FD should focus on the inhibition of duodenal mast cell activation, eosinophilia and loss of mucosal integrity.

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