Objective: To test the hypothesis that topical administration of pantothenic acid, a precursor of coenzyme A, might result in increased tissue levels of coenzyme A, improvement of fatty acid oxidation, and amelioration of ulcerative colitis. Material and Methods: In an open-label pilot study, three patients with active left-sided ulcerative colitis received nightly enemas that contained 1,000 mg of dexpanthenol for 4 weeks. Before and after the study, patients submitted stool specimens for shortchain fatty acid analysis and urine collections for measurement of pantothenic acid and dicarboxylic acids; they also underwent flexible sigmoidoscopy for procurement of biopsy specimens for histologic examination and measurement of colonic coenzyme A activity. A clinical disease activity index and histologic disease activity index were used to assess response. Results: Despite increases in urinary pantothenic acid, no significant changes were found in colonic tissue coenzyme A concentrations, fecal short-chain fatty acid concentrations, or urinary dicarboxylic acid concentrations. Moreover, no significant changes in clinical or histologic disease activity were noted. Although stool frequency and rectal bleeding remained unchanged, all patients noted increased abdominal cramping, and one patient had an increased extent of disease. Conclusion: Topically administered dexpanthenol seems to be absorbed, but at the dose used in this study, it did not influence concentrations of colonic coenzyme A activity, fecal short-chain fatty acids, or clinical response in patients with active left-sided ulcerative colitis.
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