Protective effect of RibCys following high-dose irradiation of the rectosigmoid

Jeffrey K. Rowe, Richard T. Zera, Robert D. Madoff, Andrew S. Fink, Jeanette C. Roberts, Gary R. Johnston, Daniel A. Feeney, H. L. Young, Melvin P. Bubrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Ribose-cysteine (RibCys) is a prodrug of l-cysteine that stimulates glutathione biosynthesis. Increased glutathione levels have been shown to have a protective effect against radiation-induced injury and oxidative stress. Surface oximetry has previously been used successfully to predict anastomotic leakage. PURPOSE: The following study was done to evaluate the protective effect of RibCys and the predictive value of PtO2 determinations in a swine model. METHODS: Domestic swine were divided into three groups: Group A served as a nonradiated control; Group B received 6,000 to 6,500 rad to the rectosigmoid; and Group C received RibCys (1 g/kg) prior to receiving 6,000 to 6,500 rad. Radiated animals and controls underwent rectosigmoid resection after a three-week rest period. Intraoperative anastomotic PtO2 was checked with a modified Clark electrode. Anastomoses were evaluated radiographically at three and seven days; animals were sacrificed, and bursting strength was recorded at 10 days. RESULTS: Mean bursting pressures were 243.8±59.4, 199.5±37.8, and 209.5±54.9 mmHg (NS) for Groups A, B, and C, respectively. Anastomotic PtO2 ranged from 19 to 98 mmHg and could not be correlated with anastomotic leaks or bursting pressure. There were 11/15 radiation-related deaths and leaks (eight deaths and three leaks) in the radiated group and 4/12 radiation-related deaths and leaks (three deaths and one leak) in the group receiving radiation and RibCys (P < 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: 1) RibCys protected animals against radiation-related deaths and anastomotic leaks following high doses of pelvic irradiation; 2) anastomotic PtO2 levels did not correlate with anastomotic healing in this model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)681-688
Number of pages8
JournalDiseases of the Colon & Rectum
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 1993


  • Anastomosis
  • Colon
  • Oximetry
  • Radiation therapy
  • Rectum

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