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J Physiol Pharmacol. 2006 Nov;57 Suppl 5:125-36.

Ascorbic acid attenuates aspirin-induced gastric damage: role of inducible nitric oxide synthase.

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  • 1First Department of Medicine, University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany.


Aspirin (ASA) represents an important risk factor for gastric mucosal injury. Recently, vitamin C releasing aspirin (ASA-VitC) has been shown to reduce gastric toxicity of ASA in animal model of gastric injury. The aim of the present study was to compare the effect of ASA and ASA-VitC on the gastric mucosal damage before and after Helicobacter pylori (Hp) eradication in 10 young healthy Hp-positive volunteers. All subjects underwent endoscopy at day 0 (before ASA or ASA-VitC treatment) and at day 3 following treatment (1.6 g ASA/day or 1.6 g ASA + 0.96 g Vit C/day). In addition, in vitro experiments were performed in which gastric mucosal cell line (MKN-45 cells) was incubated with ASA or ASA-VitC alone or in combination with H.pylori. Expression of constitutive and inducible NO synthase (cNOS, iNOS) was analyzed by Western blot. Moreover, COX-2 expression was analyzed in gastric biopsies at mRNA and protein level by RT-PCR and Western blot, respectively. In humans, treatment with ASA-VitC induced significantly less gastric mucosal lesions than plain ASA. Furthermore, in comparison to plain ASA, ASA-VitC caused stronger inhibition of cNOS and increase in iNOS expression in the gastric mucosa. In vitro studies demonstrated a significant increase in iNOS expression in MKN-45 cells incubated with Hp. This effect was aggravated by the addition of ASA, but not ASA-VitC, to MKN-45 cells incubated with H.pylori. Both ASA and ASA-VitC stimulated the COX-2 expression in the gastric mucosa. We conclude that ASA-VitC in comparison with ASA induces less gastric mucosal damage and this protective effect may be due to its inhibitory effect on iNOS expression.

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