Role of oxidative stress in oxaliplatin-induced enteric neuropathy and colonic dysmotility in mice

Rachel M. McQuade, Simona E. Carbone, Vanesa Stojanovska, Ahmed Rahman, Rachel M. Gwynne, Ainsley M. Robinson, Craig A. Goodman, Joel C. Bornstein, Kulmira Nurgali*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)
78 Downloads (Pure)


Background and Purpose: Oxaliplatin is a platinum-based chemotherapeutic drug used as a first-line therapy for colorectal cancer. However, its use is associated with severe gastrointestinal side-effects resulting in dose limitations and/or cessation of treatment. In this study, we tested whether oxidative stress, caused by chronic oxaliplatin treatment, induces enteric neuronal damage and colonic dysmotility. Experimental Approach: Oxaliplatin (3 mg·kg−1per day) was administered in vivo to Balb/c mice intraperitoneally three times a week. The distal colon was collected at day 14 of treatment. Immunohistochemistry was performed in wholemount preparations of submucosal and myenteric ganglia. Neuromuscular transmission was studied by intracellular electrophysiology. Circular muscle tone was studied by force transducers. Colon propulsive activity studied in organ bath experiments and faeces were collected to measure water content. Key Results: Chronic in vivo oxaliplatin treatment resulted in increased formation of reactive oxygen species (O2ˉ), nitration of proteins, mitochondrial membrane depolarisation resulting in the release of cytochrome c, loss of neurons, increased inducible NOS expression and apoptosis in both the submucosal and myenteric plexuses of the colon. Oxaliplatin treatment enhanced NO-mediated inhibitory junction potentials and altered the response of circular muscles to the NO donor, sodium nitroprusside. It also reduced the frequency of colonic migrating motor complexes and decreased circular muscle tone, effects reversed by the NO synthase inhibitor, Nω-Nitro-L-arginine. Conclusion and Implications: Our study is the first to provide evidence that oxidative stress is a key player in enteric neuropathy and colonic dysmotility leading to symptoms of chronic constipation observed in oxaliplatin-treated mice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3502-3521
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2016. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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