Background & aims: Polyunsaturated phosphatidylcholine stimulates collagen breakdown in experimental models of liver cirrhosis. Bowel strictures are characterized by excess deposition of collagen in the intestinal wall. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of polyunsaturated phosphatidylcholine in the prevention of bowel strictures.
Methods: Colitis was induced by trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid. On day 21, the presence of strictures was assessed in control rats, rats with colitis, and phosphatidylcholine-fed (100 mg/day) rats with colitis. Furthermore, serum transforming growth factor beta1, collagen deposition, and collagenase activity in colonic tissue were measured in all groups.
Results: None of the control rats but 12 of 16 rats with colitis developed colonic strictures. In contrast, only 2 of 15 phosphatidylcholine-fed rats with colitis showed strictures. Collagen content was much higher in rats with colitis than in phosphatidylcholine-fed rats with colitis and control rats. Phosphatidylcholine-fed rats showed significantly higher collagenase activity in colonic tissue than rats with colitis and control rats. In an ancillary study, free linoleic acid-fed rats showed no differences when compared with rats with colitis. Stimulation of transforming growth factor beta1 was similar in all rats with colitis.
Conclusions: Oral supplementation with polyunsaturated phosphatidylcholine prevents the accumulation of collagen in inflamed intestinal tissue and the formation of strictures. This effect is associated with an enhanced collagen catabolism.