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Int J Exp Pathol. 1992 Aug;73(4):515-26.

The pre-ulcerative phase of carrageenan-induced colonic ulceration in the guinea-pig.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Liverpool, UK.


The pre-ulcerative phase of carrageenan-induced colonic ulceration was investigated in guinea-pigs supplied 3% degraded carrageenan as an aqueous solution as drinking fluid for 2 or 3 days during which no ulceration of the bowel was observed with the naked eye or dissecting microscope. Mucosal microscopic changes, from caecum to rectum, were multifocal and included cellular infiltrates, dilatation of glands, crypt abscesses, micro-ulcers and sulphated polysaccharide in the lamina propria. Sulphated polysaccharide was also demonstrated histologically for the first time within the surface epithelium and showed ultrastructural features similar to carrageenan. The results indicate that colonic epithelium in the guinea-pig is capable of macromolecular absorption. Carrageenan, a highly active polyanionic electrolyte, within the surface epithelial cells is most likely a primary factor in the breakdown of mucosal integrity. Macromolecular absorption causing enteropathy of the large bowel is a new pathophysiological concept which may have implications in man, particularly in the pathology of large bowel disease.

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