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To examine bicarbonate (HCO3) secretion ex vivo in the equine large colon to determine any differences between the right dorsal colon (RDC) and right ventral colon (RVC). The effect of phenylbutazone (PBZ) on HCO3 secretion was examined in the RDC.


14 healthy horses.


In anesthetized horses (n = 10), segments of mucosa from RDC and RVC were harvested to measure HCO3 secretion ex vivo with the pH Stat method. The effect of PBZ on HCO3 secretion in the RDC was studied in 4 additional horses.


Three distinct mechanisms of HCO3 secretion previously described in a murine model were confirmed in the equine colon. The RDC had a greater capacity for electrogenic, Cl-independent HCO3 secretion than the RVC (P = 0.04). In the RDC, all HCO3 secretion was decreased by PBZ (P < 0.02) but was not studied in the RVC because of low baseline secretion.


Secretion of HCO3 by the RDC could play a pivotal role in equine colon physiology, because intense microbial fermentation in this site could require HCO3 secretion to buffer short-chain fatty acids. Inhibition of this secretion by PBZ could interfere with mucosal buffering and predispose to changes associated with right dorsal colitis.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research