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J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018 Apr;33(4):878-886. doi: 10.1111/jgh.14021. Epub 2018 Jan 19.

Rebamipide alleviates radiation-induced colitis through improvement of goblet cell differentiation in mice.

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Laboratory of Radiation Exposure and Therapeutics, National Radiation Emergency Medical Center, Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Pathology, Korea Cancer Center Hospital, Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences, Seoul, Korea.



Radiation-induced colitis is a common clinical problem associated with radiotherapy and accidental exposure to ionizing radiation. Goblet cells play a pivotal role in the intestinal barrier against pathogenic bacteria. Rebamipide, an anti-gastric ulcer drug, has the effects to promote goblet cell proliferation. The aim of this study was to investigate whether radiation-induced colonic injury could be alleviated by rebamipide.


This study orally administered rebamipide for 6 days to mice, which were subjected to 13 Gy abdominal irradiation, to evaluate the therapeutic effects of rebamipide against radiation-induced colitis. To confirm the effects of rebamipide on irradiated colonic epithelial cells, this study used the HT29 cell line.


Rebamipide clearly alleviated the acute radiation-induced colitis, as reflected by the histopathological data, and significantly increased the number of goblet cells. The drug also inhibited intestinal inflammation and protected from bacterial translocation during acute radiation-induced colitis. Furthermore, rebamipide significantly increased mucin 2 expression in both the irradiated mouse colon and human colonic epithelial cells. Additionally, rebamipide accelerated not only the recovery of defective tight junctions but also the differentiation of impaired goblet cells in an irradiated colonic epithelium, which indicates that rebamipide has beneficial effects on the colon.


Rebamipide is a therapeutic candidate for radiation-induced colitis, owing to its ability to inhibit inflammation and protect the colonic epithelial barrier.


colitis; goblet cells; radiation; rebamipide

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