Hypertonic saline reverses stiffness in a Sprague-Dawley rat model of acute intestinal edema, leading to improved intestinal function

Ravi S. Radhakrishnan, Hari R. Radhakrishnan, Hasen Xue, Stacey D. Moore-Olufemi, Anshu B. Mathur, Norman W. Weisbrodt, Frederick A. Moore, Steven J. Allen, Glen A. Laine, Charles S. Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION: Acute edema induced by resuscitation and mesenteric venous hypertension impairs intestinal transit and contractility and reduces intestinal stiffness. Pretreatment with hypertonic saline (HS) can prevent these changes. Changes in tissue stiffness have been shown to trigger signaling cascades via stress fiber formation. We proposed that acute intestinal edema leads to a decrease in intestinal transit that may be mediated by changes in stiffness, leading to stress fiber formation and decreased intestinal transit. Furthermore, HS administration will abolish these detrimental effects of edema. RESULTS: Intestinal edema causes a significant increase in tissue water and a significant decrease in intestinal transit and stiffness compared with sham. HS reversed these changes to sham levels. In addition, tissue edema led to significant stress fiber formation and decreased numbers of focal contacts. HS preserved tissue stiffness, prevented stress fiber formation, and was associated with improved intestinal function. CONCLUSION: HS eliminates intestinal tissue edema formation and improves intestinal transit. In addition, the action of HS may be mediated through its preservation of tissue stiffness, which leads to prevention of signaling via stress fiber formation, leading to preserved intestinal function. Finally, intestinal edema may provide a novel physiologic model for examining stiffness and stress fiber signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)538-543
Number of pages6
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Abdominal compartment syndrome
  • Edema
  • Hypertonic saline
  • Ileus
  • Intestinal transit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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