Objective: The authors determined whether bombesin could improve survival from methotrexate (MTX)-induced enterocolitis. Summary Background Data: Bombesin prevents gut mucosal atrophy, which is produced by feeding rats an elemental diet. Administration of MTX produces a lethal enterocolitis in rats fed an elemental diet. Methods: On treatment day 0, 60 rats were divided randomly into three groups and fed an elemental diet (Vivonex TEN, Sandoz, Minneapolis, MN) as the only source of nutrition. Groups were subdivided further to receive either saline or bombesin (10 μg/kg, subcutaneously, three times a day) beginning either on day 0 or day 14. Methotrexate (20 mg/kg, intraperitoneally) was given to all rats 14 days after the start of an elemental diet. Results: Bombesin prevented the mucosal atrophy in the ileum produced by the elemental diet and significantly decreased mortality in rats given MTX (whether given as a pretreatment or at the time of MTX administration). Conclusion: Bombesin significantly improved survival in a lethal model of MTX-induced enterocolitis, possibly by maintaining gut mucosal structure. Administration of bombesin to patients receiving chemotherapy may be clinically useful in preventing the severe enterocolitis induced by various chemotherapeutic agents.
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