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J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2014 Jan;54(1):2-6. doi: 10.3164/jcbn.13-84. Epub 2013 Dec 18.

The impact of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs on the small intestinal epithelium.

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Department of Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, 465 Kajiicho, Kawaramachi-Hirokoji, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-8566, Japan.
Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, 465 Kajiicho, Kawaramachi-Hirokoji, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-8566, Japan.


The small intestine has been called as a dark continent of digestive tract and it had been very difficult to diagnose or treat the disease of small intestine. However recent technological development including video capsule endoscopy or balloon-assisted endoscopy has made us to aware the various diseases of small intestine. By using capsule endoscopy, many researchers reported that more than 70% of patients treated continuously with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) exhibit the mucosal damage of small intestine. In some cases, NSAID not only causes mucosal damage but also results in life threatening bleeding from small intestine, which had not been prevented or cured by gastro-protective drug or anti-gastric acid secretion drug administration. Therefore to investigate and identify the effective drug that protects small intestine from mucosal damage is urgently expected. In spite of extensive investigation in clinical field, only a few drugs such as misoprostol, a synthetic prostaglandin E1 analogue, has been reported as an effective one but is not satisfactory enough to fulfill the requirement of patients who suffer from NSAID-induced mucosal damage of small intestine. And now, extensive study is being performed using several gastro-mucoprotective drugs by many researchers. In this review, we introduce the current clinical situation in small intestinal injury of patients under NSAID treatment, and to summarize the molecular mechanism by which NSAID, including acetyl salicylic acid, cause small intestinal damage. In addition, we present results of clinical trials performed so far, and refer the possible preventive method or treatment in the near future.


NSAID; balloon endoscopy; capsule endoscopy; reactive oxygen species; small intestine

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