Diseases of the Colon & Rectum

, Volume 39, Issue 7, pp 788–793 | Cite as

Distribution and concentrations of 5-aminosalicylic acid in rectosigmoid biopsy specimens after rectal administration

  • R. Schoonjans
  • M. De Vos
  • A. -M. Schelfhout
  • M. Praet
  • A. Elewaut
Original Contributions


PURPOSE: Using the autofluorescent properties of 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA), we studied the penetration and distribution of this molecule in human colonic biopsies at different time intervals after administration of 5-ASA enemas. METHODS: Fluorescence scores of rectosigmoidal biopsy specimens were compared with 5-ASA and acetyl-5-aminosalicylic (Ac-5-ASA) concentrations, determined by high-performance liquid chromatography, in adjacent biopsies and in serum samples. RESULTS: 5-ASA penetrates into the rectal mucosa and into the epithelial cells after local application by means of an enema. We found a characteristic 5-ASA staining of two intramucosal structures that need further identification: intraepithelial triangular configurations and “5-ASA scavengers” in the lamina propria. Fluorescence scores correlate well with 5-ASA concentrations in adjacent biopsies (r=0.67;P<0.005) and correlate even better with serum concentrations of 5-ASA (r=0.84;P<0.005) and Ac-5-ASA (r=0.80;P<0.005), hence reflecting the amount of systemically absorbed and metabolized 5-ASA. CONCLUSION: 5-ASA penetrates into the rectal mucosa after local application. Local availability, assessed by means of fluorescence microscopy, correlates well with serum concentrations.

Key words

5-Aminosalicylic acid Enema Autofluorescence Rectosigmoid 


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Copyright information

© American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Schoonjans
    • 1
  • M. De Vos
    • 1
  • A. -M. Schelfhout
    • 1
  • M. Praet
    • 1
  • A. Elewaut
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Gastroenterology and PathologyUniversity Hospital GentGentBelgium

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