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BACKGROUND/AIMS: The combination of starvation and surgical trauma induces disturbances to the intestinal mucosal structure and function, as well as changes in mucosal barrier function in the rat small bowel. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of nimodipine administration, on intestinal mucosal structural changes and enterocyte apoptosis, following laparotomy and subsequent postsurgical starvation (PSS) in the rat.
METHODS: Thirty Wistar rats were divided into two experimental groups: A: Control group (n=15), where the animal models underwent laparotomy and consequent 48-hours PSS and B: Nimodipine group (n=15), where the rats underwent laparotomy, followed by intraperitoneal nimodipine administration and consequent 48-hour (h) PSS. Small bowel mucosal structural changes and enterocyte epithelial apoptosis were determined 48 h following laparotomy. RESULTS: Nimodipine rats (group B) demonstrated a significant decrease in small bowel villous height in jejunum (p=0.016) and ileum (p=0.002). Similarly, crypt depth decreased in jejunum (p<0.001) and ileum (p<0.001). Nimodipine group exhibited significantly higher apoptotic index in ileum compared to control rats (p=0.006). CONCLUSION: Nimodipine did not protect the intestinal mucosa from damage caused by surgery and consequent PSS and had obvious damaging effects on intestinal mucosa with derangements to its structure and subsequent mucosal atrophy.