Objective: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an intractable condition. Existing models of experimental IBD are limited by their inability to create consistent ulcers between animals. The aim of this study was to develop a novel model of experimental colitis with ulcers of reproducible size. Design: We used a 3D printer to fabricate a novel device containing a small window (10 × 10 mm) that could be inserted rectally to facilitate the creation of a localized ulcer in the rat intestinal mucosa. The mucosa within the window of the device was exposed to 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS) to generate ulceration. We evaluated the effects of conventional drug therapies (mesalazine and prednisolone) and local transplantation of allogeneic adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ASCs) on ulcer size (measured from photographic images using image analysis software) and degree of inflammation (assessed histologically). Results: The novel method produced localized, circular or elliptical ulcers that were highly reproducible in terms of size and depth. The pathological characteristics of the lesions were similar to those reported previously for conventional models of TNBS-induced colitis that show greater variation in ulcer size. Ulcer area was significantly reduced by the administration of mesalazine or prednisolone as an enema or localized injection of ASCs. Conclusion: The new model of TNBS-induced colitis, made with the aid of a device fabricated by 3D printing, generated ulcers that were reproducible in size. We anticipate that our new model of colitis will provide more reliable measures of treatment effects and prove useful in future studies of IBD therapies.
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