Studies of aloe. V. Mechanism of cathartic effect. (4)

Biol Pharm Bull. 1994 May;17(5):651-3. doi: 10.1248/bpb.17.651.


Aloe-emodin-9-anthrone(AE-anthrone), produced from barbaloin in the rat large intestine, caused not only an increase in the intestinal water content but also stimulated mucus secretion. This might play an important role in the occurrence of diarrhea. It was demonstrated that the amount of AE-anthrone produced in the rat large intestine(maximal amount: 568 micrograms/rat at 4 h after injection) was enough to cause both of these effects, which were observed following intracecal administration of barbaloin (31.1 mg/kg). These results together with our previous data, which showed a relationship between increase in the intestinal water content and the stimulation of peristalsis, confirm that AE-anthrone is the principal agent responsible for the cathartic effect of barbaloin. We also propose that the increase in water content is a more important factor than stimulation of peristalsis in the induction of diarrhea by barbaloin.

MeSH terms

  • Aloe / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Anthracenes / administration & dosage
  • Anthracenes / pharmacology*
  • Anthraquinones
  • Body Water / metabolism
  • Cathartics / administration & dosage
  • Cathartics / pharmacology*
  • Chromatography, Thin Layer
  • Densitometry
  • Emodin / administration & dosage
  • Emodin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Emodin / pharmacology
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Intestinal Mucosa / drug effects
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mucus / metabolism
  • Peristalsis / drug effects
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Anthracenes
  • Anthraquinones
  • Cathartics
  • barbaloin
  • aloe emodin anthrone
  • aloe emodin
  • Emodin