An Overview of the Effects of Tenapanor on Visceral Hypersensitivity in the Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation

Prashant Singh, Gregory S. Sayuk, David P. Rosenbaum, Susan Edelstein, Kenji Kozuka, Lin Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) experience persistent abdominal pain, a common symptom leading to greater healthcare utilization and reports of treatment non-response. Clinically significant improvements in abdominal pain were observed in clinical trials of tenapanor, a first-in-class inhibitor of sodium/hydrogen exchanger isoform 3 (NHE3), for the treatment of IBS-C in adults. Aim: This narrative review reports the current knowledge about visceral hypersensitivity as a mechanism for abdominal pain in patients with IBS-C and explores the published evidence for hypothesized mechanisms by which tenapanor may reduce visceral hypersensitivity leading to the observed clinical response of decreased abdominal pain. Findings: Abdominal pain is experienced through activation and signaling of nociceptive dorsal root ganglia that innervate the gut. These sensory afferent neurons may become hypersensitized through signaling of transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1 (TRPV1), resulting in reduced action potential thresholds. TRPV1 signaling is also a key component of the proinflammatory cascade involving mast cell responses to macromolecule exposure following permeation through the intestinal epithelium. Indirect evidence of this pathway is supported by observations of higher pain in association with increased intestinal permeability in patients with IBS. Tenapanor reduces intestinal sodium absorption, leading to increased water retention in the intestinal lumen, thereby improving gastrointestinal motility. In animal models of visceral hypersensitivity, tenapanor normalized visceromotor responses and normalized TRPV1-mediated nociceptive signaling. Conclusion: By improving gastrointestinal motility, decreasing intestinal permeability and inflammation, and normalizing nociception through decreased TRPV1 signaling, tenapanor may reduce visceral hypersensitivity, leading to less abdominal pain in patients with IBS-C. Therapies that have demonstrated effects on visceral hypersensitivity may be the future direction for meaningful abdominal pain relief for patients with IBS-C.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-96
Number of pages10
JournalClinical and Experimental Gastroenterology
StatePublished - 2024


  • IBS-C
  • NHE3
  • TRPV1
  • abdominal pain
  • intestinal permeability
  • sodium absorption


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