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J Clin Invest. 2000 Feb;105(4):469-78.

Impaired mucosal defense to acute colonic injury in mice lacking cyclooxygenase-1 or cyclooxygenase-2.

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Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.


To investigate roles in intestinal inflammation for the 2 cyclooxygenase (COX) isoforms, we determined susceptibility to spontaneous and induced acute colitis in mice lacking either the COX-1 or COX-2 isoform. We treated wild-type, COX-1(-/-), COX-2(-/-), and heterozygous mice with dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) to provoke acute colonic inflammation, and we quantified tissue damage, prostaglandin (PG) E(2), and interleukin-1beta. No spontaneous gastrointestinal inflammation was detected in mice homozygous for either mutation, despite almost undetectable basal intestinal PGE(2) production in COX-1(-/-) mice. Both COX-1(-/-) and COX-2(-/-) mice showed increased susceptibility to a low-dose of DSS that caused mild colonic epithelial injury in wild-type mice. COX-2(-/-) mice were more susceptible than COX-1(-/-) mice, and selective pharmacologic blockade of COX-2 potentiated injury in COX-1(-/-) mice. At a high dose, DSS treatment was fatal to 50% of the animals in each mutant group, but all wild-type mice survived. DSS treatment increased PGE(2) intestinal secretion in all groups except COX-2(-/-) mice. These results demonstrate that COX-1 and COX-2 share a crucial role in the defense of the intestinal mucosa (with inducible COX-2 being perhaps more active during inflammation) and that neither isoform is essential in maintaining mucosal homeostasis in the absence of injurious stimuli.

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