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.
- Colonic motility
- Intragastric cold water stress
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Oxytocin receptor
ASJC Scopus subject areas