BACKGROUND--The short chain fatty acid (SCFA) butyrate provides energy for colonocytes, stimulates colonic fluid and electrolyte absorption and is recognised as an effective treatment for multiple types of colitis. AIM--To examine the impact of butyrate enema therapy on the clinical course, severity of inflammation, and SCFA stimulated Na+ absorption in a chronic experimental colitis. METHODS--Distal colitis was induced in rats with a trinitrobenzenesulphonic acid (TNBS) enema. Five days after induction, rats were divided into groups to receive: no treatment, saline enemas, or 100 mM Na-butyrate enemas daily. On day 24, colonic damage score and tissue myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity were evaluated. Colon was mounted in Ussing chambers and Na+ transport and electrical activities were measured during a basal period and after stimulation with 25 mM butyrate. RESULTS--In the untreated and the saline enema treated TNBS groups, diarrhoea and extensive colonic damage were seen, associated with increased tissue MPO activities and absent butyrate stimulated Na+ absorption. In contrast, in the butyrate enema treated TNBS group, diarrhoea ceased, colonic damage score improved, and tissue MPO activity as well as butyrate stimulated Na+ absorption recovered to control values. CONCLUSION--Butyrate enema therapy stimulated colonic repair, as evidenced by clinical recovery, decreased inflammation, and restoration of SCFA stimulated electrolyte absorption.
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