Short-chain fatty acids inhibit fluid and electrolyte loss induced by cholera toxin in proximal colon of rabbit in vivo

Dig Dis Sci. 1999 Aug;44(8):1547-53. doi: 10.1023/a:1026650624193.


Short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), acetate, propionate, and butyrate, are produced by bacterial fermentation in the colon and stimulate Na+ and Cl- absorption. We have studied the effects of SCFA on fluid and electrolyte absorption during cholera toxin (CT) -induced colonic secretion in rabbit, using a steady-state perfusion technique with marker (PEG) dilution. Perfusion with SCFA significantly (P < 0.01) reduced colonic water secretion. Butyrate reduced water secretion the most (95%), followed by propionate (90%), and acetate (80%). Butyrate significantly (P < 0.001) reduced secretions of Na+ (95.5%), K+ (75.2%), and Cl-(80.7%) ions but not HCO3- ions. Propionate similarly reduced secretion of HCO3-(45.3%). Acetate significantly (P < 0.001) inhibited Na+ (76.4%) and Cl- (75.7%) secretion, but the inhibitions of K+ (23.6%) and HCO3 (28.8%) were not significantly different from the controls. We conclude that SCFA reduce CT-induced water and electrolyte secretion in the rabbit proximal colon, and its potential as an antidiarrheal agent should be further evaluated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetic Acid / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Body Water / metabolism*
  • Butyrates / pharmacology
  • Cholera Toxin / pharmacology*
  • Colon / drug effects*
  • Colon / metabolism*
  • Electrolytes / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Ion Transport / drug effects
  • Male
  • Propionates / pharmacology
  • Rabbits


  • Butyrates
  • Electrolytes
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile
  • Propionates
  • Cholera Toxin
  • propionic acid
  • Acetic Acid