Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional gastrointestinal disorder, with the characteristic symptoms of chronic abdominal pain and altered bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, or both). IBS is a highly prevalent condition, which negatively affects quality of life and is a significant burden on global healthcare costs. Although many pharmacological medicines have been proposed to treat IBS, including those targeting receptors, channels, and chemical mediators related to visceral hypersensitivity, successful pharmacotherapy for the disease has not been established. Visceral hypersensitivity plays an important role in IBS pathogenesis. Immune activation is observed in diarrhea-predominant patients with IBS and contributes to the development of visceral hypersensitivity. Adenosine is a chemical mediator that regulates many physiological processes, including inflammation and nociception. Among its receptors, the adenosine A2B
receptor regulates intestinal secretion, motor function, and the immune response. We recently demonstrated that the adenosine A2B
receptor is involved in visceral hypersensitivity in animal models of IBS. In this review, we discuss the possibility of the adenosine A2B
receptor as a novel therapeutic target for IBS.
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