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Gut. 1999 Nov;45(5):713-8.

Effect of different prokinetic agents and a novel enterokinetic agent on postoperative ileus in rats.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology and Pharmacology, Faculty of Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium.



The effects of different prokinetic agents, the motilide erythromycin and the substituted benzamides metoclopramide and cisapride, were investigated in a rat model of postoperative ileus. These effects were compared with that of granisetron, a 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT(3)) receptor antagonist, and a novel enterokinetic agent, prucalopride, a 5-HT(4) receptor agonist.


Different degrees of inhibition of gastrointestinal transit, measured by the migration of Evans blue, were achieved by skin incision, laparotomy, or laparotomy plus mechanical stimulation of the gut.


Metoclopramide decreased the transit after laparotomy with or without mechanical stimulation, whereas cisapride increased it after all three operations. Granisetron had no effect on the transit after the three operations when given alone. Prucalopride tended to increase the transit after laparotomy with or without mechanical stimulation when given alone. However, statistical significance was only reached when prucalopride was combined with granisetron. Erythromycin, a motilin receptor agonist, did not improve postoperative ileus in the rat.


Cisapride, but not metoclopramide or erythromycin, is able to improve postoperative ileus in the rat. The results suggest that a combination of 5-HT(3) receptor antagonist and 5-HT(4) receptor agonist properties may be required to obtain a beneficial effect on surgery induced ileus in the rat. Furthermore, they indirectly indicate that stimulation of the excitatory mechanisms is not able to overcome the inhibitory influence of the neural reflex pathways activated during abdominal surgery.

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