BACKGROUND: Growing evidence suggests that intestinal recovery from injury induced by radiation, endotoxin, and protein deficiency is improved by the ingestion of nucleosides and nucleotides. AIM: This study examined the effect of dietary nucleosides and nucleotides supplementation on trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid induced colonic damage in experimental colitis. METHODS: Sprague-Dawley rats were randomised into two groups and fed nucleic acid free 20% casein diet (control) or this diet supplemented with 0.5% nucleoside-nucleotide mixture for four weeks. On the second week, colonic inflammation was induced in rats by intracolonic administration of 0.25 ml of 50% ethanol containing 25 mg of trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid. Additionally, other sets of rats were treated with 0.25 ml of 50% ethanol, 25 mg of trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid in 0.25 ml saline, or 0.25 ml of 0.9% saline. RESULTS: After two weeks, colon weight, macroscopic and microscopic damage scores, were significantly greater (p < 0.05) in the nucleoside-nucleotide supplemented group compared with the non-supplemented control groups. The same variables seen in the trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid-ethanol group fed nucleoside-nucleotide free diet were greater (p < 0.05) than in the rest of the groups fed nucleoside-nucleotide free diet and treated with ethanol, trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid in saline, or saline. Histologically, segmental ulceration and inflammation associated with significantly increased infiltration of polymorphonuclear leucocytes, macrophages, lymphocytes, fibroblasts were observed in the supplemented group compared with the controls. In the nucleoside-nucleotide supplemented group the epithelial damage, mucosal erosion, oedema, and coagulative necrosis of the muscularis propria was more extensive in comparison to the non-supplemented control groups. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that dietary nucleosides and nucleotides may aggravate colonic damage and inflammation in chemically induced experimental colitis in rats; and that nucleoside-nucleotide free diet combined with other pharmacological agents may offer a better response.
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