Nitrogen mustard (NM) treatment of rabbits induced neutropenia, and, in ligated ileal loops, it inhibited fluid secretion induced by salmonella or by cholera toxin (CT). Pretreatment of rabbits with indomethacin almost abolished salmonella-induced fluid secretion and significantly reduced that induced by CT. Similar effects of NM and indomethacin on fluid secretion induced by salmonella, but not by CT, have been reported by other workers and used to implicate prostaglandins, from the salmonella-induced inflammation, as mediators of fluid secretion. In contrast, we show that NM treatment, in addition to reducing CT-induced secretion, caused severe morphological alterations to ileal mucosa. Irradiation techniques were developed for inducing neutropenia, but they did not totally inhibit salmonella-induced leucocyte influx into ileal mucosa. We propose an alternative mechanism for the inhibitory effect of NM on salmonella- and CT-induced secretion, based on the known anti-mitotic activity of NM. Also, the anti-secretory effect of indomethacin cannot be attributed uniquely to its anti-inflammatory activity because it depressed CT-induced secretion as well as salmonella-induced secretion. These results support the concept of pathophysiological secretion in infectious diarrhoea, developed previously for rotavirus and extended to bacterial infections.


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