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Gut. 1992 Dec;33(12):1652-9.

Water and solute absorption from a new hypotonic oral rehydration solution: evaluation in human and animal perfusion models.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, St Bartholomew's Hospital, West Smithfield, London.


Controversy continues regarding the optimal composition of glucose electrolyte oral rehydration solutions for the treatment of acute diarrhoea. Four perfusion models (normal human jejunum, normal rat small intestine, cholera toxin treated secreting rat small intestine and rotavirus infected rat small intestine) have been developed and used to compare the efficacy of a hypotonic oral rehydration solution with standard United Kingdom British National formulary and developing world oral rehydration solutions (WHO). Despite obvious physiological and pathophysiological differences between these models there was general congruence in the water and solute absorption profiles of the different oral rehydration solutions. Hypotonic oral rehydration solution promoted significantly greater water absorption than other oral rehydration solutions in all rat models (p < 0.001) but apparently increased water absorption failed to achieve significance in human jejunum. British National Formulary-oral rehydration solution was unable to reverse net water secretion in both rotavirus and cholera toxin models. Net sodium absorption from hypotonic and WHO-oral rehydration solutions was significantly greater than from the low sodium British National Formulary-oral rehydration solutions (p < 0.001) except in the rotavirus model when absorption was similar to hypotonic-oral rehydration solutions. These findings show that there is agreement in the apparent efficacy of oral rehydration solutions in these animal and human perfusion models, and that improved water absorption with adequate sodium absorption may be achieved by reducing oral rehydration solution osmolality.

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