BW 942C is a novel enkephalinlike pentapeptide that has been shown to have antidiarrheal action in model systems. The effect of BW 942C on rabbit ileal electrolyte transport was studied to gain insight into the mechanism of the antidiarrheal action of opiate-like compounds. Multiple effects were observed, differing with the basal state of the tissue. BW 942C increased Na absorption in tissues that were not absorbing in the basal state, whereas it had little effect on Na absorption in tissues that were previously absorbing at moderate to high rates (> 1μEq/h · cm2. It increased Cl absorption and caused a dose-related decrease in short-circuit current in all tissues. This effect was reversed or inhibited by naloxone (10-5 M), suggesting that it is mediated by opiate receptors. No significant change in residual flux was noted. BW 942C was effective from both the serosal and mucosal side; however, it required a 2-log higher dose on the mucosal side (10-4 M, maximal) to achieve a response similar to that observed with serosal application (10-6 M, maximal). The ability of BW 942C to alter stimulated secretion was studied using theophylline, prostaglandin E2, vasoactive intestinal peptide, and bethanechol. There was significantly less Cl secretion in BW 942C-treated tissues than in control tissues after stimulation with prostaglandin E2 (10-7 M). However, this effect was not apparent at higher doses of prostaglandin E2 and there was no inhibition of the short-circuit current response to any of the secretory stimuli by BW 942C. Loperamide was also found to be unable to inhibit the Cl secretion or change in short-circuit current stimulated by theophylline. Although opiates have been shown to be moderately effective antidiarrheal agents, their ability to influence mucosal electrolyte transport is weak and may only account for part of their anti-diarrheal action.
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