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Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2011 Aug;17(8):1698-713. doi: 10.1002/ibd.21553. Epub 2010 Dec 3.

Impact of disrupting adenosine A₃ receptors (A₃⁻/⁻ AR) on colonic motility or progression of colitis in the mouse.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.



Pharmacological studies suggest that adenosine A₃AR influences motility and colitis. Functional A₃⁻/⁻AR knockout mice were used to prove whether A₃AR activation is involved in modulating either motility or colitis.


A₃AR was probed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) genotyping, Western blot, and immunochemistry. Motility was assessed in vivo by artificial bead-expulsion, stool-frequency, and FITC-dextran transit. Colitis was induced with dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) in A₃⁻/⁻AR or wildtype (WT) age- and sex-matched controls. Progression of colitis was evaluated by histopathology, changes in myeloperoxidase (MPO), colon length, CD4(+) -cells, weight-loss, diarrhea, and the guaiac test.


Goat anti-hu-A₃ antiserum identified a 66 kDa immunogenic band in colon. A₃AR-immunoreactivity is expressed in SYN(+) -nerve varicosities, s-100(+) -glia, and crypt cells, but not 5-HT(+) (EC), CD4(+) (T), tryptase(+) (MC), or muscle cells. A₃AR immunoreactivity in myenteric ganglia of distal colon >> proximal colon by a ratio of 2:1. Intestinal transit and bead expulsion were accelerated in A₃⁻/⁻AR mice compared to WT; stool retention was lower by 40%-60% and stool frequency by 67%. DSS downregulated A₃AR in epithelia. DSS histopathology scores indicated less mucosal damage in AA₃⁻/⁻AR mice than WT. A₃⁻/⁻AR phenotype protected against DSS-induced weight loss, neutrophil (MPO), or CD4(+) -T cell infiltration, colon shortening, change in splenic weight, diarrhea, or occult-fecal blood.


Functional disruption of A₃AR in A₃⁻/⁻AR mice alters intestinal motility. We postulate that ongoing release of adenosine and activation of presynaptic-inhibitory A₃AR can slow down transit and inhibit the defecation reflex. A₃AR may be involved in gliotransmission. In separate studies, A₃⁻/⁻AR protects against DSS colitis, consistent with a novel hypothesis that A₃AR activation contributes to development of colitis.

Copyright © 2010 Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, Inc.

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