Sulfhydryl blocker-induced colitis in the rat: Immunological changes in thymus gland and colonic mucosa

Hidekazu Suzuki, T. Hibi, M. Oda, Y. Hosoda, M. Mori, S. Miura, S. Tanaka, M. Watanabe, M. Tscuhiya

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The study was designed to examine the changes of thymus in sulflhydryl blocker-induced colitis. We used N-ethylmaleimide (NEM) as sulflhydryl blockers. Fasted male Sprague-Dawley rats were given 3% NEM in 1% methyl cellulose into the colon. N-ethylmaleimide treatment caused severe diarrhoea with bleeding for the first 7 days. At autopsy, adhesions, colon dilatation, and single or multiple erosions and ulcers were observed. Time-course studies revealed that the lesions were most extensive and severe 3 or 7 days after the administration of NEM. Histological examination of colon on the 3rd day after NEM treatment demonstrated mucosal erosion, oedema and extensive infiltration of neutrophils. The mucosal lesions extended into the submucosa and muscle on the 7th day after NEM treatment. Immunohistochemical studies showed that T cells and macrophages were markedly increased in the lamina propria of colonic mucosa. After 3 weeks, the infiltration of chronic inflammatory cells was observed and regeneration of the mucosa was noticed. The thymus gland was significantly decreased in weight and size on the 3rd day after NEM treatment, but the weight loss of thymus gland was regained in 3 weeks. Transient atrophy of thymus gland was noticed in this colitis model. The phenotypes of thymocytes were not influenced by NEM treatment. It is concluded that the thymus abnormalities in human ulcerative colitis are not induced in this animal model and that other chronic models are necessary for the elucidation of the immunological abnormalities, including thymus abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-550
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Australia)
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1994



  • Experimental colitis
  • N-ethylmaleimide (NEM)
  • Sulfhydryl blocker
  • Thymus gland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Hepatology

Cite this

Suzuki, H., Hibi, T., Oda, M., Hosoda, Y., Mori, M., Miura, S., Tanaka, S., Watanabe, M., & Tscuhiya, M. (1994). Sulfhydryl blocker-induced colitis in the rat: Immunological changes in thymus gland and colonic mucosa. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Australia), 9(6), 544-550.