Gastrointestinal (GI) diseases are public health problem which affects 69% of the world's population. Among the disorders that cause gastrointestinal hypomotility is mainly constipation, but drugs available for the treatment of this disorder come with numerous adverse effects, among them the most common are abdominal pain and cardiotoxic potential. Ferulic acid ethyl ester (FAEE) is a phenylpropanoid widely found in vegetables and grains. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of FAEE on gastrointestinal transit (GIT). The charcoal propulsion test was performed to evaluate the effect of FAEE on normal GIT, on pretreatment with atropine, verapamil or ondansetron on morphine-induced gastrointestinal delay and gastric emptying of mice by measuring of the gastric retention rate of phenol red. At doses of 50 and 100 mg/kg, FAEE significantly increased normal GIT of mice (73.41 ± 2.14% and 67.82 ± 3.68%, respectively) compared to the vehicle (42.48 ± 1.61%), with no significant difference in the group treated with Tegaserod (73.03 ± 3.31%). Pretreatment with atropine and verapamil significantly inhibited the prokinetic effect of FAEE (60.20 ± 2.34% and 47.68 ± 2.15%, respectively). Pretreatment with FAEE did not reverse the inhibitory effect of morphine on GIT (17.35 ± 2.07%). There was no significant difference in the pretreated group with ondansetron (72.18 ± 5.76%). Therefore, this study shows that FAEE provides a basis for the development of a prokinetic agent that alleviates dysfunctions of GI motility through muscarinic mechanism and activation of the calcium channels without affecting gastric structures.
Keywords: Ferulic acid ethyl ester; Gastrointestinal transit; Prokinetic; gastrointestinal motility; Morphine.