Effect of a chloride channel activator, lubiprostone, on colonic sensory and motor functions in healthy subjects

Seth Sweetser, Irene A. Busciglio, Michael Camilleri, Adil E. Bharucha, Lawrence A. Szarka, Athanasios Papathanasopoulos, Duane D. Burton, Deborah J. Eckert, Alan R. Zinsmeister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Lubiprostone, a bicyclic fatty acid chloride channel activator, is efficacious in treatment of chronic constipation and constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome. The study aim was to compare effects of lubipros- tone and placebo on colonic sensory and motor functions in humans. In double-blind, randomized fashion, 60 healthy adults received three oral doses of placebo or 24 μg lubiprostone per day in a parallel- group, placebo-controlled trial. A barostat-manometry tube was placed in the left colon by flexible sigmoidoscopy and fluoroscopy. We measured treatment effects on colonic sensation and motility with validated methods, with the following end points: colonic compliance, fasting and postprandial tone and motility indexes, pain thresholds, and sensory ratings to distensions. Among participants receiving lubiprostone or placebo, 26 of 30 and 28 of 30, respectively, completed the study. There were no overall effects of lubiprostone on compliance, fasting tone, motility indexes, or sensation. However, there was a treatment-by-sex interaction effect for compliance (P = 0.02), with lubiprostone inducing decreased fasting compliance in women (P = 0.06) and an overall decreased colonic tone contraction after a standard meal relative to fasting tone (P = 0.014), with greater effect in women (P < 0.01). Numerical differences of first sensation and pain thresholds (P = 0.11 in women) in the two groups were not significant. We concluded that oral lubiprostone 24 μg does not increase colonic motor function. The findings of decreased colonic compliance and decreased postprandial colonic tone in women suggest that motor effects are unlikely to cause accelerated colonic transit with lubiprostone, although they may facilitate laxation. Effects of lubiprostone on sensitivity deserve further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G295-G301
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • Compliance
  • Constipation
  • Irritable bowel
  • Threshold
  • Tone
  • Trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of a chloride channel activator, lubiprostone, on colonic sensory and motor functions in healthy subjects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this