Differential effects of salvinorin A on endotoxin-induced hypermotility and neurogenic ion transport in mouse ileum

Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2011 Jun;23(6):583-e212. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2011.01699.x. Epub 2011 Mar 17.


Background: Salvinorin A (SA) is the principal active ingredient of Salvia divinorum, with an established inhibitory action on gastrointestinal (GI) transit and colonic ion transport in mice. Under normal conditions, the effects of SA are mediated by kappa opioid (KOR) and cannabinoid (CB1 and CB2) receptors. However, the role of SA in pathophysiological conditions remains unresolved. The aim of this study was to characterize the in vitro and in vivo effects of SA on mouse ileum after endotoxin challenge.

Methods: Changes in GI motility were studied in vitro, using smooth muscle preparations from the mouse ileum. In vivo, the fecal pellet output and small intestinal fluid content were measured. Neurogenic ion transport and intestinal permeability were examined using Ussing chambers. In addition, Western blot analysis of mucosa was performed and plasma nitrite/nitrate levels were determined.

Key results: Salvinorin A inhibited endotoxin-induced ileal hypercontractility via KOR, CB1, and CB2 receptors. Neurogenic ion transport, which was significantly reduced after endotoxin challenge, was normalized by SA through a nitric oxide synthase (NOS)-dependent mechanism. Western blot analysis and plasma nitrite/nitrate level quantitation confirmed the involvement of NOS in the regulatory action of SA.

Conclusions & inferences: This is the first report showing differential effects of SA on motor and secretory activity in mouse GI during endotoxemia. The outcomes of our study imply possible novel applications of SA and its analogs in the treatment of GI disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Defecation / drug effects
  • Diterpenes, Clerodane / pharmacology*
  • Endotoxins / pharmacology*
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / drug effects*
  • Ileum / drug effects*
  • Ileum / physiology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Ion Transport / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Smooth / drug effects
  • Muscle, Smooth / physiology
  • Nitrates / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / metabolism
  • Nitrites / metabolism


  • Diterpenes, Clerodane
  • Endotoxins
  • Nitrates
  • Nitrites
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Nos2 protein, mouse
  • salvinorin A