Introduction: Despite extensive research, anastomotic leakage (AL) remains one of the most dreaded complications after colorectal surgery. Since butyrate enemas are known to enhance anastomotic healing, several administration routes have been explored in this study.
Methods: Three intraluminal approaches involving butyrate were investigated: (1) butyrin-elucidating patch, (2) a single injection of hyaluronan-butyrate (HA-But) prior to construction of the proximal anastomosis and (3) rectal hyaluronan-butyrate (HA-But) enemas designed for distal anastomoses. The main outcome was AL and secondary outcomes were bursting pressure, histological analysis of the anastomosis, zymography to detect MMP activity and qPCR for gene expression of MMP2, MMP9, MUC2 and TFF3.
Results: Neither the patches nor the injections led to a reduction of AL in experiments 1 and 2. In experiment 3, a significant reduction of AL was accomplished with the (HA-But) enema compared to the control group together with a higher bursting pressure. Histological analysis detected only an increased inflammation in experiment 2 in the hyaluronan injection group compared to the control group. No other differences were found regarding wound healing. Zymography identified a decreased proenzyme of MMP9 when HA-But was administered as a rectal enema. qPCR did not show any significant differences between groups in any experiment.
Conclusion: Butyrate enemas are effective in the enhancement of colonic anastomosis. Enhanced butyrate-based approaches designed to reduce AL in animal models for both proximal and distal anastomoses were not more effective than were butyrate enemas alone. Further research should focus on how exogenous butyrate can improve anastomotic healing after gastrointestinal surgery.