Epithelial-specific A2B adenosine receptor signaling protects the colonic epithelial barrier during acute colitis

Mucosal Immunol. 2015 Nov;8(6):1324-38. doi: 10.1038/mi.2015.22. Epub 2015 Apr 8.


Central to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) pathogenesis is loss of mucosal barrier function. Emerging evidence implicates extracellular adenosine signaling in attenuating mucosal inflammation. We hypothesized that adenosine-mediated protection from intestinal barrier dysfunction involves tissue-specific signaling through the A2B adenosine receptor (Adora2b) at the intestinal mucosal surface. To address this hypothesis, we combined pharmacologic studies and studies in mice with global or tissue-specific deletion of the Adora2b receptor. Adora2b(-/-) mice experienced a significantly heightened severity of colitis, associated with a more acute onset of disease and loss of intestinal epithelial barrier function. Comparison of mice with Adora2b deletion on vascular endothelial cells (Adora2b(fl/fl)VeCadCre(+)) or intestinal epithelia (Adora2b(fl/fl)VillinCre(+)) revealed a selective role for epithelial Adora2b signaling in attenuating colonic inflammation. In vitro studies with Adora2b knockdown in intestinal epithelial cultures or pharmacologic studies highlighted Adora2b-driven phosphorylation of vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP) as a specific barrier repair response. Similarly, in vivo studies in genetic mouse models or treatment studies with an Adora2b agonist (BAY 60-6583) recapitulate these findings. Taken together, our results suggest that intestinal epithelial Adora2b signaling provides protection during intestinal inflammation via enhancing mucosal barrier responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Colitis / metabolism
  • Colitis / pathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Receptor, Adenosine A2B / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction* / physiology


  • Receptor, Adenosine A2B