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Eur J Pharmacol. 1992 Feb; 212(1): 121-3.

The effect of rhein and rhein anthrone on intestinal fluid transport and on large intestine transit in germ-free rats.

Van Hoestenberghe A, De Witte P, Geboes K, Eyssen H, Nijs G, Lemli J.

Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biology and Phytopharmacology, K.U. Leuven, Belgium.

The effect of rhein and rhein anthrone on the transit and the transport of water and electrolytes in the large intestine was investigated in germ-free rats. After intracaecal administration, neither of the two compounds was found to accelerate the transit of a colour marker through the large intestine. Both drugs reduced the net absorption of sodium and chloride in the colon and enhanced net potassium secretion. Net water absorption was decreased by rhein and even reversed into net secretion by rhein anthrone. Our results show that the secretagogue activity of the compounds is not sufficient to induce laxation in germ-free rats. Furthermore rhein and rhein anthrone had no laxative properties under our experimental conditions.


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