Role of mast cells, neutrophils and nitric oxide in endotoxin-induced damage to the neonatal rat colon

J. F. Brown*, K. A. Chafee, B. L. Tepperman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mechanisms involved in mediating bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced injury in the colon of neonatal rat pups aged 10-12 days was examined. 

Administration of LPS (3 mg kg-1, i.p.) caused a time-related increase in the plasma concentration of rat mast cell protease-II (RMCP-II) which was attenuated dose-dependently, by the non-selective mast cell stabilizer doxantrazole (0.05-5 mg kg-1, i.p.). The selective connective tissue mast cell stabilizer ketotifen (5-25 mg kg-1, i.p.) was without effect at the lower dose and had only a limited inhibitory effect at the higher dose. 

In addition, doxantrazole (5 mg kg-1, i.p.) inhibited mast cell degranulation in response to LPS in sections of neonatal rat colon, but ketotifen (5 mg kg-1, i.p.) was without effect.

The increase in plasma RMCP-II concentration in response to LPS treatment preceded increases in tissue myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) activity and tissue lipid peroxidation. These events were all attenuated by pretreatment with doxantrazole (5 mg kg-1, i.p.), antineutrophil serum (100 μl kg-1, i.p.), dexamethasone (2 mg kg-1, i.p.) and the selective iNOS inhibitor, aminoguanidine (25 mg kg-1, i.p.). 

In addition, lipid peroxidation was inhibited by pre-administration of the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (2000 u kg-1, i.p.) and catalase (2000 u kg-1, i.p.), the xanthine oxidase inhibitor allopurinol (100 mg kg-1, i.p.) and the peroxyl scavenger deferoxamine (10 mg kg-1, i.p.), suggesting the involvement of reactive oxygen metabolites in the colonic injury. 

These findings suggest that the sequence of events resulting in colonic damage in the neonatal rat following administration of LPS include mast cell degranulation, neutrophil infiltration, elevation in iNOS activity and subsequent lipid peroxidation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998


  • Aminoguanidine
  • Colonic injury
  • doxantrazole
  • inducible nitric oxide synthase
  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • Myeloperoxidase
  • Neonatal rats
  • Rat mast cell protease II


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