Dublineau, I., Ksas, B. and Griffiths, N. M. Functional Changes in the Rat Distal Colon after Whole-Body Irradiation: Dose–Response and Temporal Relationships.
The aim of this study was to determine the acute radiation response of the rat distal colon by in vivo and in vitro measurements of the functions of the colon over a range of radiation doses. Rats received a whole-body irradiation of 2 to 12 Gy and were studied from 1 to 7 days after exposure. In vivo water and electrolyte absorption was measured by insertion of an agarose cylinder in the colon of anesthetized rats. In vitro transepithelial electrical parameters (potential difference, short-circuit current, transepithelial conductance) were measured in Ussing chambers in basal and agonist-stimulated conditions. In vivo and in vitro functional studies were completed by standard histological analyses. The majority of functional modifications appeared at 4 days after exposure. At this time, a dose-dependent decrease in absorption of water and sodium/chloride ions in the colon was noted. In contrast, a twofold increase in potassium secretion was observed for every radiation dose studied. The response to secretagogues was attenuated at doses >8 Gy. Modifications of basal transepithelial electrical parameters together with marked histological alterations were observed at 4 days with the higher doses (≥10 Gy). In conclusion, these results show that functions of the colon are affected by irradiation and may contribute to diarrhea induced by ionizing radiation.