Oxytocin decreases colonic motility of cold water stressed rats via oxytocin receptors

Xiao Yang, Tao Fang Xi, Yu Xian Li, Hai Hong Wang, Ying Qin, Jie Ping Zhang, Wen Ting Cai, Meng Ting Huang, Ji Qiao Shen, Xi Min Fan, Xuan Zheng Shi, Dong Ping Xie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


AIM: To investigate whether cold water intake into the stomach affects colonic motility and the involvement of the oxytocin-oxytocin receptor pathway in rats. METHODS: Female Sprague Dawley rats were used and some of them were ovariectomized. The rats were subjected to gastric instillation with cold (0-4 °C, cold group) or room temperature (20-25 °C, control group) saline for 14 consecutive days. Colon transit was determined with a bead inserted into the colon. Colonic longitudinal muscle strips were prepared to investigate the response to oxytocin in vitro . Plasma concentration of oxytocin was detected by ELISA. Oxytocin receptor expression was investigated by Western blot analysis. Immunohistochemistry was used to locate oxytocin receptors. RESULTS: Colon transit was slower in the cold group than in the control group (P < 0.05). Colonic smooth muscle contractile response to oxytocin decreased, and the inhibitory effect of oxytocin on muscle contractility was enhanced by cold water intake (0.69 ± 0.08 vs 0.88 ± 0.16, P < 0.05). Atosiban and tetrodotoxin inhibited the effect of oxytocin on colonic motility. Oxytocin receptors were located in the myenteric plexus, and their expression was up-regulated in the cold group (P < 0.05). Cold water intake increased blood concentration of oxytocin, but this effect was attenuated in ovariectomized rats (286.99 ± 83.72 pg/mL vs 100.56 ± 92.71 pg/mL, P < 0.05). However, in ovariectomized rats, estradiol treatment increased blood oxytocin, and the response of colonic muscle strips to oxytocin was attenuated. CONCLUSION: Cold water intake inhibits colonic motility partially through oxytocin-oxytocin receptor signaling in the myenteric nervous system pathway, which is estrogen dependent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10886-10894
Number of pages9
JournalWorld journal of gastroenterology
Issue number31
StatePublished - Aug 21 2014


  • Colonic motility
  • Estradiol
  • Intragastric cold water stress
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Oxytocin
  • Oxytocin receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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