, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 870-876

Nitric Oxide Donors Enhance Rectal Absorption of Macromolecules in Rabbits

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Purpose. The objective of this investigation is to evaluate the potential of nitric oxide (NO) donors as a new class of absorption enhancers which may act on intestinal epithelial cells through epithelial actions of the chemical mediator, NO.

Methods. Suppositories containing NO donors and insulin were administered into the rabbit rectum. After administration of the suppository, blood samples were collected from the auricular vein. The plasma insulin and glucose concentrations were determined.

Results. The NO donor S-nitroso-N-acetyl-DL-penicillamine (SNAP, 4 mg) induced a significant increase in the rate of insulin absorption from the rectum. Administration of a suppository containing SNAP without insulin affected neither the plasma insulin nor the plasma glucose concentration. Other NO donors, NOR1 and NOR4, also induced increases in the insulin absorption. The absorption enhancement effect of SNAP was inhibited by coadministration of the NO scavenger carboxy-PTIO. SNAP also enhanced FITC-dextran (MW 4,000) absorption. Little cytotoxicity of SNAP (3.0 mg/ml) as assessed in terms of the rate of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release from Caco-2 cells was detected for 2 h of incubation.

Conclusions. These findings suggest that NO enhanced macromolecular absorption from the rectum without mucosal cell damage, and that NO donors can act as potent absorption enhancers.