Background: Beneficial effects of lactobacilli have been reported in experimental colitis. On the other hand, despite the controversial role of nitric oxide (NO) in the inflammatory gut process, a protective action of exogenous NO in inflammation has been suggested. Consequently, this study aimed to determine the effect of (i) sodium nitroprusside (SNP), a NO donor and (ii) treatment with Lactobacillus farciminis, which produces NO in vitro, on trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid (TNBS)-induced colitis in rats and to evaluate the role of exogenous NO in this effect.
Methods: Rats were divided into three groups receiving one of the following: (i) a continuous intracolonic (IC) infusion of SNP for 4 days, (ii) L. farciminis orally for 19 days, or (iii) saline. On day 1 and day 15, respectively, TNBS and saline were administrated IC, followed by a continuous IC infusion of saline or haemoglobin, a NO scavenger. At the end of treatments, the following parameters were evaluated: macroscopic damage of colonic mucosa, myeloperoxidase and nitric oxide synthase activities and colonic luminal NO production.
Results: In colitic rats, SNP and L. farciminis treatment significantly (P < 0.05) reduced macroscopic damage scores, myeloperoxidase and nitric oxide synthase activities compared to controls. Haemoglobin infusion abolished the anti-inflammatory effect of both NO donor treatments, but had no effect per se on colitis.
Conclusion: NO released intraluminally by SNP infusion or by L. farciminis given orally improves TNBS-induced colitis in rats. These results indicate a protective role of NO donation in colonic inflammation and show for the first time a mechanism involving NO delivery by a bacterial strain reducing an experimental colitis.