Review article: the sphingosine 1 phosphate/sphingosine 1 phosphate receptor axis - a unique therapeutic target in inflammatory bowel disease

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2022 Feb;55(3):277-291. doi: 10.1111/apt.16741. Epub 2021 Dec 21.


Background: Ozanimod, a high selective sphingosine 1 phosphate (S1P) receptor (S1PR) 1/5 modulator was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of adult patients with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis. Additional S1PR modulators are being tested in clinical development programmes for both ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

Aim: To provide an overview of advances in understanding S1PRs biology and summarise preclinical and clinical investigations of S1P receptor modulators in chronic inflammatory disease with special emphasis on inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).

Methods: We performed a narrative review using PubMed and

Results: Through S1PRs, S1P regulates multiple cellular processes, including proliferation, migration, survival, and vascular barrier integrity. The S1PRs function of regulating lymphocyte trafficking is well known, but new functions of S1PRs expand our knowledge of S1PRs biology. Several S1PR modulators are in clinical development for both ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease and have shown promise in phase II and III studies with ozanimod now being approved for ulcerative colitis.

Conclusions: S1P receptor modulators constitute a novel, promising, safe, and convenient strategy for the treatment of IBD.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Phosphates / therapeutic use
  • Sphingosine / therapeutic use
  • Sphingosine 1 Phosphate Receptor Modulators* / therapeutic use
  • Sphingosine-1-Phosphate Receptors
  • United States


  • Phosphates
  • Sphingosine 1 Phosphate Receptor Modulators
  • Sphingosine-1-Phosphate Receptors
  • Sphingosine