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J Physiol Pharmacol. 2014 Feb;65(1):95-106.

Involvement of cyclooxygenase-1 and cyclooxygenase-2 activity in the therapeutic effect of ghrelin in the course of ethanol-induced gastric ulcers in rats.

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Department of Physiology Jagiellonian University Medical College, Cracow, Poland.


Previous studies have shown that treatment with ghrelin exhibits protective and therapeutic effects in the gut. Aim of our present investigation was to examine the influence of ghrelin administration on the healing of ethanol-induced gastric ulcers and determine the role of cyclooxygenase-1 and cyclooxygenase-2 in this effect. Our studies were performed on male Wistar rats. Gastric ulcers were induced by intragastric administration of 75% ethanol. Ghrelin alone or in combination with cyclooxygenase inhibitors was administered twice, 1 and 13 hours after ethanol application. Cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) inhibitor (SC-560, 10 mg/kg/dose) or COX-2 inhibitor (celecoxib, 10 mg/kg/dose) were given 30 min prior to ghrelin. Twelve or 24 hours after administration of ethanol, rats were anesthetized and experiments were terminated. The study revealed that administration of ethanol induced gastric ulcers in all animals and this effect was accompanied by the reduction in gastric blood flow and mucosal DNA synthesis. Moreover induction of gastric ulcer by ethanol significantly increased mucosal expression of mRNA for COX-2, IL-1β and TNF-α. Treatment with ghrelin significantly accelerated gastric ulcer healing. Therapeutic effect of ghrelin was associated with significant reversion of the ulcer-evoked decrease in mucosal blood flow and DNA synthesis. Ghrelin administration also caused the reduction in mucosal expression of mRNA for IL-1β and TNF-α. Addition of SC-560 slightly reduced the therapeutic effect of ghrelin in the healing of ethanol-induced ulcer and the ulcer area in rats treated SC-560 plus ghrelin was significantly smaller than that observed in rats treated with saline or SC-560 alone. Pretreatment with celecoxib, a COX-2 inhibitor, abolished therapeutic effect of ghrelin. We concluded that treatment with ghrelin increases healing rate of gastric ulcers evoked by ethanol and this effect is related to improvement in mucosal blood flow, an increase in mucosal cell proliferation, and reduction in mucosal expression of proinflammatory cytokines. Ghrelin is able to reverse a deleterious effect of COX-1 inhibitor on healing of ethanol-induced gastric ulcers. Activity of COX-2 is necessary for the therapeutic effect of ghrelin in healing of ethanol-induced gastric ulcers.

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