Dai-Kenchu-To, a herbal medicine, attenuates colorectal distention-induced visceromotor responses in rats

Kumi Nakaya, Yohko Nagura, Ryoko Hasegawa, Hitomi Ito, Shin Fukudo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Aims Dai-kenchu-to (DKT), a traditional Japanese herbal medicine, is known to increase gastrointestinal motility and improve ileal function. We tested our hypotheses that (1) pretreatment with DKT would block the colorectal distention-induced visceromotor response in rats, and (2) pretreatment with DKT would attenuate colorectal distention-induced adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) release and anxiety-related behavior. Methods Rats were pretreated with vehicle or DKT (300 mg/kg/5 mL, per os). Visceromotor responses were analyzed using electromyography in response to colorectal distention (10, 20, 40, 60, and 80 mmHg for 20 seconds at 3-minutes intervals). Anxiety-related behavior was measured during exposure to an elevated-plus maze after colorectal distention. Plasma ACTH and serum corticosterone levels were measured after exposure to the elevated-plus maze. Results Colorectal distention produced robust contractions of the abdominal musculature, graded according to stimulus intensity, in vehicletreated rats. At 40, 60, and 80 mmHg of colorectal distention, the visceromotor responses of DKT-treated rats was significantly lower than that of vehicle-treated rats. At 80 mmHg, the amplitude was suppressed to approximately one-third in DKT-treated rats, compared with that in vehicle-treated rats. Smooth muscle compliance and the velocity of accommodation to 60 mmHg of stretching did not significantly differ between the vehicle-treated and DKT-treated rats. Similarly, the DKT did not influence colorectal distentioninduced ACTH release, corticosterone levels, or anxiety-related behavior in rats. Conclusions Our results suggest that DKT attenuates the colorectal distention-induced visceromotor responses, without increasing smooth muscle compliance, ACTH release or anxiety-related behavior in rats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)686-693
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct


  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone
  • Anxiety
  • Colorectal distention
  • Dai-kenchu-to
  • Visceral pain


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