Effects of an osmotically active agent on colonic transit

S. M. Skoog, A. E. Bharucha, M. Camilleri, D. D. Burton, A. R. Zinsmeister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


It is unknown if sorbitol, a widely used laxative agent, accelerates colonic transit, and if these effects are modified by concomitant meal ingestion. Colonic transit was assessed by 111In scintigraphy in 40 healthy subjects. After a 24-h scan, subjects received sorbitol (30 mL of 70% solution) or dextrose (30 mL of 70% solution), administered with or without a meal. Colonic transit, breath hydrogen excretion, and symptom scores were recorded for 4 h thereafter. VAS scores for flatulence, but not other symptoms increased (P = 0.004) by 13.1 ± 6.3 mm (mean ± SEM) on a 100 mm scale after sorbitol alone or sorbitol with a meal (by 18.9 ± 7.2 mm), but not after dextrose. After adjusting for GC24, sorbitol accelerated (P < 0.001) colonic transit (GC28 = 3.0 ± 0.3) compared with dextrose (GC28 = 2.2 ± 0.2), regardless of meal ingestion. Breath hydrogen excretion was correlated with the change in colonic transit (r = 0.52, P < 0.01) and with flatulence (r = 0.45, P = 0.003) after sugar ingestion. In healthy subjects, sorbitol accelerated colonic transit and increased flatulence but not other symptoms within 4 h, regardless of meal intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-306
Number of pages7
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Breath hydrogen
  • Colon transit
  • Laxatives
  • Osmotic
  • Symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Gastroenterology


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