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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2009 Jun;296(6):G1299-306. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00011.2009. Epub 2009 Apr 2.

Do corticotropin releasing factor-1 receptors influence colonic transit and bowel function in women with irritable bowel syndrome?

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Clinical Enteric Neuroscience Translational and Epidemiological Research (C.E.N.T.E.R.), College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.


Corticotropin releasing factor (CRF), a mediator of stress response, alters gastrointestinal (GI) functions. Stress-related changes in colonic motility are blocked by selective CRF(1) receptor antagonists. Our aim was to assess whether modulation of central and peripheral CRF(1) receptors affects colonic transit and bowel function in female patients with diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (D-IBS). This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 2-wk study evaluated the effects of oral pexacerfont (BMS-562086), a selective CRF(1) receptor antagonist, 25 and 100 mg qd, on GI and colonic transit of solids [by validated scintigraphy with primary end point colonic geometric center (GC) at 24 h] and bowel function (by validated daily diaries) in 39 women with D-IBS. The 100-mg dose was comparable to a dose that inhibited colonic motility in stressed rats. Treatment effects were compared by analysis of covariance with baseline colonic transit as covariate. The study had 80% power (alpha = 0.05) to detect clinically meaningful (26%) differences in colonic transit. Thirty-nine of 55 patients fulfilled eligibility criteria (9 screen failures, 5 baseline GC24 outside prespecified range). At baseline, three treatment groups had comparable age, body mass index, and GC 24 h. Significant effects of pexacerfont relative to placebo were not detected on colonic GC24 (P = 0.53), gastric emptying, orocecal transit, ascending colon emptying half-time, and stool frequency, consistency, and ease of passage. No safety issues were identified. We conclude that in women with D-IBS, pexacerfont, 25 or 100 mg qd, does not significantly alter colonic or other regional transit or bowel function. The role of central and peripheral CRF(1) receptors in bowel function in D-IBS requires further study.

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