"This newly discovered compound decreases the formation of ever-present cellular messenger molecules, cyclic guanosine monophosphate and cyclic adenosine monophosphate, caused by various bacterial toxins and might prevent or attenuate the intestinal fluid secretion, diarrhea and dehydration," said Murad, the senior author. "While this research looks extremely promising as a preventive or therapeutic intervention in Third World diarrheal disease and travelers' diarrhea, much work remains to be done to move into clinical trials and eventual therapeutic approval."
In the event of an earthquake, typhoon or other catastrophe, this potential diarrhea treatment could be used to treat outbreaks of enterotoxigenic E. coli caused by contaminated food and water supplies, Murad said. The compound can be placed in a pill for adults and in a liquid for children.
Secretory diarrhea describes the condition when the small intestine, which is normally an absorptive organ, is stimulated to secrete salts and water into the intestinal lumen, often in massive quantities. The resulting diarrhea can lead to profound fluid loss, dehydration, shock and death.
There are many causes of secretory diarrhea. The most common, by far, is infestation of the small intestine by certain bacteria, such as cholera or certain strains of E. coli, following ingestion of contaminated water or food. These bacteria multiply in the intestinal tract and produce toxins that bring about elevations of a group of intracellular messengers, cyclic nucleotides, that stimulate intestinal cells to secrete salt and water.
To date, there is no effective way of treating these diarrheas directly. Treatment is indirect and aimed at preventing serious outcomes by minimizing fluid loss using intravenous or, more recently, oral rehydration.
"Dr. Murad and his coworkers have discovered a relatively simple compound that indirectly inhibits th
|Contact: Robert Cahill|
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston