Background: 5-HT(3) antagonists have been shown to be effective in relieving the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhoea (IBS-D). Using a recently validated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) method, we have demonstrated reduced fasting small bowel water content (SBWC) in IBS-D associated with accelerated small bowel transit. We hypothesized that slowing of transit with ondansetron would lead to an increase in SBWC by inhibiting fasting motility.
Aim: To assess the effects of ondansetron compared with placebo in healthy volunteers on SBWC and motility in two different groups of subjects, one studied using MRI and another using manometry.
Methods: Healthy volunteers were given either a placebo or ondansetron on the day prior to and on the study day. Sixteen volunteers underwent baseline fasting and postprandial MRI scans for 270 min. In a second study, a separate group of n = 18 volunteers were intubated and overnight migrating motor complex (MMC) recorded. Baseline MRI scans were carried out after the tube was removed.
Results: Fasting SBWC was markedly increased by ondansetron (P < 0.0007). Ondansetron reduced the overall antroduodenal Motility Index (P < 0.04). The subjects who were intubated had significantly lower fasting SBWC (P < 0.0002) compared with the group of subjects who were not intubated.
Conclusions: The 5-HT(3) receptor antagonism increased fasting small bowel water. This was associated with reduced fasting antroduodenal Motility Index which may explain the clinical benefit of such drugs.
2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.