Roxithromycin, a macrolide antibiotic, has been shown to ameliorate acetic acid induced colitis in rats by suppressing inflammation and oxidative stress. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of roxithromycin on small intestinal transit and cholinergic responsiveness of the colonic smooth muscles of colitic rats.
Colitis was induced in rats by acetic acid and the small intestinal transit was determined by measuring the distance traversed by charcoal meal from the gastro-duodenal junction in 1 h. The test drug roxithromycin, reference drug mesalazine and anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac were administered orally before inducing colitis and their effect on intestinal transit was compared with colitic control group. The effect on cholinergic responsiveness of colonic smooth muscles was evaluated by plotting a dose-response curve using different concentrations of acetylcholine. The concentration producing 50% of maximal response (EC) was calculated for all the treatment groups.
The small intestinal transit was enhanced in colitic rats as compared to normal rats (86.00 ± 1.36 vs. 57.00 ± 1.34 cm; p<0.001). Like mesalazine, roxithromycin normalized intestinal transit while diclofenac was ineffective. The results of experiment show that colitis increased cholinergic responsiveness of the colonic smooth muscles that was not affected by roxithromycin and mesalazine while diclofenac significantly decreased it.
This study shows that like mesalazine, roxithromycin affords protection in colitis mainly by normalizing propulsive movement of the small intestine than by affecting cholinergic responsiveness of the colonic smooth muscles.