Due to its strong oxidation activity, ozone has been well known to kill bacteria and exert toxic effects on human tissues. At the same time, ozone is being used for the treatment of diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease in some European countries. However, the use of ozone for therapeutic purposes, despite its strong toxic effects, remains largely unexplored. Interestingly, we found that intrarectal administration of ozone gas induced transient colonic epithelial cell damage characterized by the impairment of cell survival pathways involved in DNA replication, cell cycle, and mismatch repair. However, the damaged cells were rapidly extruded from the epithelial layer, and appeared to immediately stimulate turnover of the epithelial layer in the colon. Therefore, it is possible that ozone gas is able to trigger damage-induced rapid regeneration of intestinal epithelial cells, and that this explains why ozone does not cause harmful or persistent damage in the colon.
Keywords: DNA repair; cell cycle; colon epithelial cell; ozone; ozone therapy.