Protective effects of colchicine in an experimental model of necrotizing enterocolitis in neonatal rats

J Surg Res. 2013 Jul;183(1):156-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2013.01.002. Epub 2013 Feb 1.


Background: The pathophysiology of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) includes the massive production of endogenous cytokines with exaggerated activation of inflammatory pathways. Colchicine has been used as an anti-inflammatory agent. The aim of this study was to investigate the possible beneficial effects of colchicine in a neonatal rat model of NEC.

Materials and methods: We randomly divided rat pups into three groups: a control group, a saline-treated NEC group, and a colchicine-treated NEC group. We induced NEC by hyperosmolar enteral formula feeding and exposure to hypoxia/reoxygenation after cold stress. Intestinal samples were harvested for biochemical and histopathologic analyses.

Results: The grade of intestinal injury of pups in the saline-treated NEC group was significantly higher than in the control and colchicine-treated groups (P < 0.001 and 0.003, respectively). The median level of intestinal malondialdehyde was significantly higher in the saline-treated NEC group compared with the control group (P = 0.006) or the colchicine-treated NEC group (P = 0.015). We observed significantly higher activity levels of intestinal superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase in the colchicine-treated NEC group compared with the saline-treated NEC group (P = 0.033 and 0.030, respectively). The tissue levels of tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1β were significantly higher in the saline-treated NEC group compared with the colchicine-treated NEC group (P < 0.001 and 0.003, respectively).

Conclusions: We observed that in this model of NEC, colchicine had favorable effects on intestinal histologic and biochemical changes.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Colchicine / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / pathology
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / prevention & control*
  • Gout Suppressants / therapeutic use*
  • Ileum / pathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Gout Suppressants
  • Colchicine