Region specific differences in the effect of propofol on the murine colon result in dysmotility

Lucy Diss, Shannon Villeneuve, Kim Pearce, Mark Yeoman, Bhavik Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Propofol is the most widely used intravenous anaesthetic agent for maintenance of anaesthesia and sedation. Studies in varying regions of the bowel have shown conflicting differences on the effects of propofol on motility. There the aim of this study was to understand the influence of propofol on colonic function and explore by which mechanism any changes occur. Functional studies were conducted using isolated colonic tissue from C57BL6 mice which were exposed to 5 μM propofol. Faecal pellet motility, colonic migratory motor complexes (CMMCs) and functional bioassays were utilised to monitor colonic function and nitric oxide production was monitored by amperometry. There was a signficant reduction in amplitude of CMMCs in the distal colon in the presence of 5 μM propofol, however no difference was observed in the proximal colon. A signficant increase in the 5-HT evoked contractions were observed in distal colon in the presence of 5 μM propofol. Additionally, a reduction in the NO production in the presence of 5 μM propofol was only observed in the distal colon. As a result, in the presence of 5 μM propofol, faecal pellet transit was increased, and velocity was reduced. At clinically relevant doses, propofol was shown to reduce colonic motility by inhibiting nitric oxide synthase in only the distal region of the colon. Our findings indicate that propofol has a considerable influence on colonic signalling mechanisms and impairs colonic motility, which may have implications in its clinical use especially for maintenance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
JournalAutonomic Neuroscience-Basic & Clinical
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2019


  • Colonic migratory motor complexes
  • Colonic transit
  • Distal colon
  • Nitric oxide
  • Propofol
  • Proximal colon


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