Chloroquine stimulates absorption and inhibits secretion of ileal water and electrolytes

R. Fogel, G. W.G. Sharp, M. Donowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effects of chloroquine diphosphate, a drug with 'membrane-stabilizing' properties, were studied on basal ileal absorption and on ileal secretion induced by increased intracellular cAMP levels and calcium (serotonin). The studies were performed on rat (in vivo) and rabbit ileum (in vitro). Intraluminal chloroquine (10-4 M) reversed cholera toxin- and theophylline-induced secretion in rat ileum but did not alter the cholera toxin- and theophylline-induced increases in cAMP content. Addition of chloroquine (10-4 M) to the mucosal surface of rabbit ileum did not alter basal active electrolyte transport or the serotonin-induced decreased Na and Cl absorption but inhibited the theophylline-induced Cl secretion. Addition of chloroquine (10-4 M) to the serosal surface stimulated net Na and Cl absorption. This effect may involve intracellular calcium. Chloroquine increased the rabbit ileal calcium content and decreased 45Ca2+ influx from the serosal surface. Both the mucosal and serosal effects of chloroquine described led to a net increase in absorptive function of the intestine and should prove useful in developing treatment of diarrheal diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G117-G126
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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