Small bowel injury associated to allergy is triggered by platelet-activating factor, mast cells, neutrophils and protected by nitric oxide

Int Immunopharmacol. 2008 Feb;8(2):371-8. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2007.10.021. Epub 2007 Nov 21.


Allergy to components of the diet is followed by gut inflammation which in children, sometimes progress to mucosal lesions and anaphylaxis. In newborns suffering of cow's milk allergy, bloody stools, rectal bleeding and ulcerations are found. The rat systemic anaphylaxis is a suitable model to study the intestinal lesions associated to allergy. In the present study we used this model to investigate some mechanisms involved. We found that 15 min after antigen challenge of sensitized rats, hemorrhagic lesions develop in the small intestine. The lesions were more severe in jejunum and ileum compared to duodenum. Pretreatment of the rats with a platelet-activating factor-receptor antagonist (WEB-2170) reduced the lesions whereas inhibition of endogenous nitric oxide by l-NAME, greatly increased the hemorrhagic lesions and mortality. Both, lesions and mortality were reversed by l-arginine. The hemorrhagic lesions were also significantly reduced by the mast cell stabilizers, disodium cromoglycate and ketotifen as well as by neutrophils depletion (with anti-PMN antibodies) or inhibition of selectin binding (by treatment with fucoidan). Thus, the intestinal hemorrhagic lesions in this model are dependent on platelet-activating factor, mast cell granule-derived mediators and neutrophils. Endogenous nitric oxide and supplementation with l-arginine has a protective role, reducing the lesions and preventing mortality. These results contributed to elucidate mechanisms involved in intestinal lesions which could be of relevance to human small bowel injury associated to allergy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anaphylaxis / complications*
  • Animals
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Mast Cells / physiology*
  • Neutrophils / physiology*
  • Nitric Oxide / physiology*
  • Platelet Activating Factor / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Secretin / physiology


  • Platelet Activating Factor
  • Secretin
  • Nitric Oxide