AIM--To measure the intracolonic release of nitric oxide end products (nitrates plus nitrites) and eicosanoids in response to intraluminal irritation with deoxycholic acid (DCA). PATIENTS--Seven patients with irritable bowel syndrome. METHODS--The left colon was perfused with a solution with or without 3 mM deoxycholic acid. Aspirates were assayed for eicosanoids by specific radioimmuno-assay, and for nitrates plus nitrites by the Griess reaction. To confirm that stimulated colonic mucosa can produce nitric oxide (NO), ancillary studies were performed in vitro using samples of normal mucosa obtained from five surgically resected colons. Samples were incubated for 30 minutes in Kreb's solution, 3 mM DCA or DCA with 1 mM L-nitro-arginine-methyl-ester (L-NAME) to inhibit the NO synthase. Finally, NO synthase activity was measured in five samples of human colonic mucosa. RESULTS--Intracolonic release of nitrates plus nitrites was basally undetectable in six of seven patients. Bile acid considerably increased the release of prostaglandin E2 and nitrates plus nitrites (p < 0.01). By contrast, no increase in thromboxane and leukotriene was seen. In vitro mucosal incubation with DCA increased the production of NO synthase products, which was blocked by L-NAME. Activity of Ca+2 independent NO synthase was detectable in four of five samples of human colonic mucosa. CONCLUSION--The human colonic mucosa responds to bile acid induced irritation by a surge in NO generation via NO synthase.
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