Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Donnell J. Hester


Joseph Marie Armer


It is the purpose of this study to determine whether the drug atropine has an effect on bacteria found normally inhabiting the human body, most specifically the gastrointestinal system. Atropine is one of the oldest drugs in medicine. It is derived from the roots and leaves of solanaceous plants such as henbane and Jimson weed. Atropine is often termed a belladonna alkaloid because it can also be found in the deadly nightshade plant, Atropa belladonna. Atropine is a highly competitive antagonist of acetylcholine at receptor sites in smooth muscles, cardiac muscle, and various glandular cells (5). Therefore, its effects are felt most strongly in the heart, intestine, and bronchial muscle (4). Although atropine is considered a stimulant, in reality its effects depend upon the dosage. A low dose causes sedation while a larger dose causes stimulation which may lead to delirium. Much research has been conducted on the effects of the belladonna alkaloids on the secretory and motor activity of the gastrointestinal tract. For the purpose of this study the effects of atropine upon the human gastrointestinal system are the ones considered.