Neural correlates of perceived and relative resilience in male and female patients with irritable bowel syndrome

Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2023 Nov 29:e14710. doi: 10.1111/nmo.14710. Online ahead of print.

Lisa A Kilpatrick 1 2Arpana Gupta 1 2Kirsten Tillisch 1 2Jennifer S Labus 1 2 3 4Bruce D Naliboff 1 2Emeran A Mayer 1 2Lin Chang 1 2


Author information

1Goodman-Luskin Microbiome Center, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA.

2G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience, Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA.

3Brain Research Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA.

4Gonda (Goldschmied) Neuroscience Research Center, Los Angeles, California, USA.


Background: Patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) show lower resilience than healthy controls (HCs), associated with greater symptom severity and worse quality of life. However, little is known about affected markers of resilience or the influence of sex. Furthermore, as resilience is complex, a comprehensive assessment, with multiple resilience measures, is needed. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate perceived and relative resilience and their neural correlates in men and women with IBS.

Methods: In 402 individuals (232 IBS [73.3% women] and 170 HCs [61.2% women]), perceived resilience was assessed by the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CDRISC) and Brief Resilience Scale (BRS); relative resilience was assessed by the standardized residual of the Short Form-12 mental component summary score predicted by the Adverse Childhood Experiences score. Non-rotated partial least squares analysis of region-to-region resting-state connectivity data was used to define resilience-related signatures in HCs. Disease and sex-related differences within these signatures were investigated.

Key results: Scores on all resilience measures were lower in IBS than in HCs (p's < 0.05). In all three resilience-related signatures, patients with IBS showed reduced connectivity largely involving the central autonomic network (p's < 0.001). Men with IBS showed lower CDRISC scores than women with IBS, and greater reductions in CDRISC-related connectivity, associated with worse symptom severity (p < 0.05).

Conclusions and inferences: Individuals with IBS show reduced perceived and relative resilience, with reduced connectivity suggesting impaired homeostasis maintenance. Men with IBS may show additional impairment in specific aspects of resilience. Treatments aimed at improving resilience may benefit patients with IBS, especially men with IBS.

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