The tryptophan hydroxylase inhibitor LX1031 shows clinical benefit in patients with nonconstipating irritable bowel syndrome

Gastroenterology. 2011 Aug;141(2):507-16. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2011.05.005. Epub 2011 May 18.


Background & aims: Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine [5-HT]) has an important role in gastrointestinal function. LX1031 is an oral, locally acting, small molecule inhibitor of tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH). Local inhibition of TPH in the gastrointestinal tract might reduce mucosal production of serotonin (5-HT) and be used to treat patients with nonconstipating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Methods: We evaluated 2 dose levels of LX1031 (250 mg or 1000 mg, given 4 times/day) in a 28-day, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 155 patients with nonconstipating IBS. 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), a biomarker of pharmacodynamic activity, was measured in urine samples at baseline (24 hours after LX1031 administration), and at weeks 4 and 6 (n = 76).

Results: Each dose of LX1031 was safe and well-tolerated. The primary efficacy end point, relief of IBS pain and discomfort, improved significantly in patients given 1000 mg LX1031 (25.5%), compared with those given placebo, at week 1 (P = .018); with nonsignificant improvements at weeks 2, 3, and 4 (17.9%, 16.3%, and 11.6%, respectively). Symptom improvement correlated with a dose-dependent reduction in 5-HIAA, a marker for TPH inhibition, from baseline until week 4. This suggests the efficacy of LX1031 is related to the extent of inhibition of 5-HT biosynthesis. Stool consistency significantly improved, compared with the group given placebo, at weeks 1 and 4 (P < .01) and at week 2 (P < .001).

Conclusions: In a phase 2 study, LX1031 was well tolerated, relieving symptoms and increasing stool consistency in patients with nonconstipating IBS. Symptom relief was associated with reduced levels of 5-HIAA in urine samples. This marker might be used to identify patients with nonconstipating IBS who respond to inhibitors of 5-HT synthesis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / etiology
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Biphenyl Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Biphenyl Compounds / adverse effects
  • Biphenyl Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Constipation
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Feces
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid / urine*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / complications
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Phenylalanine / administration & dosage
  • Phenylalanine / adverse effects
  • Phenylalanine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Phenylalanine / therapeutic use
  • Serotonin / biosynthesis*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tryptophan Hydroxylase / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • 2-amino-3-(4-(2-amino-6-(2,2,2-trifluoro-1-(3'-methoxybiphenyl-4-yl)ethoxy)-pyrimidin-4-yl)phenyl)propionic acid
  • Biomarkers
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Serotonin
  • Phenylalanine
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid
  • Tryptophan Hydroxylase