A differential effect of 5-ASA and NSAIDs on colonic epithelial cell proliferation
5-Aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA), a weak inhibitor of cyclo-oxygenase(COX), has been extensively used in the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) for induction and maintenance of remission. Furthermore, 5-ASA treatment has been suggested to reduce the related risk for colorectal cancer development in IBD.Although the clinical safety and efficacy of 5-ASA has been well known for many years the related mechanism of action on intestinal epithelia has not been fully elucidated. We examined the effect of 5-ASA on proliferation and apoptosis/necrosis of Caco-2 human colonic epithelial cells. In comparison, we examined the effect of three non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs-NSAIDs- (indomethacin,aspirin and CAY10404) with different COX-inhibitory specificities. We show a differential effect of 5-ASA on colonic epithelial cells survival compared to NSAIDs that suggests an alternative, COX-independent, mechanism of action of 5-ASA on intestinal epithelia.