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Increased wall thickness using ultrasonography is associated with inflammation in an animal model of experimental colitis

Authors Lied GA, Milde AM, Nylund K, Mujic M, Grimstad TB, Hausken T, Gilja OH

Received 23 February 2012

Accepted for publication 17 May 2012

Published 2 October 2012 Volume 2012:5 Pages 195—201


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Gülen Arslan Lied,1 Anne Marita Milde,2 Kim Nylund,1,3 Maja Mujic,1 Tore Grimstad,1,4 Trygve Hausken,1,3 Odd Helge Gilja1,3

1Institute of Medicine, University of Bergen, Norway; 2Department of Biological and Medical Psychology, University of Bergen, Norway; 3National Centre for Ultrasound in Gastroenterology, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway; 4Division of Gastroenterology, Stavanger University Hospital, Stavanger, Norway

Abstract: Experimentally induced colitis is used in animals to investigate pathophysiological mechanisms in inflammatory bowel disease. When following disease course and treatment effects, it should be possible to perform repeated measurements without harming the animals. This pilot study was performed to investigate whether transabdominal ultrasound using a clinical scanner could be used on rats to demonstrate bowel inflammation in an experimental colitis model. Colitis was induced by either 5% dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) in drinking water for 7 days or a single dose of intracolonic trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS). Using ultrasonography, wall thickness of distal colon, cecum, and small bowel was recorded prior to and after DSS, and prior to, 2, and 7 days after TNBS. Blood (tumor necrosis factor [TNF]-alpha) and fecal samples (HemoFEC occult blood) were taken from each group on the same days as sonography. Thereafter, rats were killed and specimens for histology were taken. Wall thickness of distal colon, not of cecum or small bowel, increased significantly after 7 days of DSS, and wall thickness of both distal colon and small bowel increased on day 2 and 7 after TNBS. TNF-alpha increased after 7 days in the latter group only. There was a significant correlation between ultrasonographic measurements and combined histology score of distal colon in the DSS group. HemoFEC was also positive in accordance with sonographic and histological features. Increased intestinal wall thickness in response to both DSS- and TNBS-induced colitis was able to be visualized by transabdominal sonography. Moreover, ultrasound findings, occult blood sampling, and histological findings supported each other, indicating that ultrasonography can be used to assess inflammation in a rat experimental model.

Keywords: transabdominal bowel sonography, inflammatory bowel disease, experimental colitis, dextran sodium sulfate, trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid

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