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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects of an osmotically active agent on colonic transit.

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 (111)In 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 GC(24), sorbitol accelerated (P < 0.001) colonic transit (GC(28) = 3.0 +/- 0.3) compared with dextrose (GC(28) = 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.[1]


  1. Effects of an osmotically active agent on colonic transit. Skoog, S.M., Bharucha, A.E., Camilleri, M., Burton, D.D., Zinsmeister, A.R. Neurogastroenterol. Motil. (2006) [Pubmed]
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