A Study of the Effects of Restraint Stress on Colitis Induced by Dextran Sulphate Sodium in Singly Housed Rats

Milde, Anne Marita; Murison, Robert
April 2002
Integrative Physiological & Behavioral Science;Apr-Jun2002, Vol. 37 Issue 2, p140
Academic Journal
The inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis) are multifactorial diseases. Clinical reports indicate that emotional stress may contribute to the onset, progression and remission of these diseases. Using an experimental animal model of ulcerative colitis, the effect of stress on the development of and recovery from symptoms was studied prospectively. Singly housed rats received 4 percent dextran sulphate sodium orally until fecal blood was detected, indicating the presence of colonic erosions. Tap water was then administered until there were no signs of fecal blood. Two hours of restraint stress were administered daily over four successive days, either prior to or after the induction of colitis. Latencies in days to symptom development and recovery were compared to an unstressed group. Daily measures of fluid-intake, body-weight, and hemoglobulin in feces were made. Results: Rats exposed to restraint stress procedures prior to induction of colitis had shorter latencies to development of symptoms. There was no significant difference in latency to recovery. The amount of fluid-intake did not significantly differ between groups, nor did the groups differ in body-weight. Conclusion: There is an effect of stress on the latency to develop colitis induced by dextran sulphate sodium. This preliminary study suggests that the impact of stress may be one factor underlying the emergence of ulcerative colitis.


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