Histological Study of Mechanisms of Adaptive Cytoprotection on Ethanol-Induced Mucosal Damage in Rat Stomachs

Joshua K.S. Ko, Chi Hin Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Adaptive cytoprotection in the gastric mucosa could be induced by exposure to low concentrations of noxious agents. However, experimental results reported so far were based on macroscopic studies. We aimed to investigate the phenomenon of gastric adaptive cytoprotection of mild irritants and its correlation with intramucosal mucus at the histological level. It was found that histological damage induced by ethanol had a negative correlation with the length of the mucus-secreting layer in the gastric mucosa. Mild irritants such as 20% ethanol and 5% NaCl preserved the 100% ethanol-induced intramucosal mucus depletion, but only the former agent demonstrated a cytoprotective effect against the histological damage, indicating that preservation of intramucosal mucus may not necessarily play a permissive role in adaptive cytoprotection. The capsaicin-sensitive sensory afferent neurons, sensory chemoreceptors, muscarinic receptors, α2- adrenoceptors and peripheral dopamine D2-receptors were found to be the components of the autonomic nervous system involved in the cytoprotective processes of 20% ethanol. Endogenous mediators including nitric oxide, prostaglandins, and possibly nonprotein sulfhydryl compounds also seemed to participate in such protection. Nevertheless, 0.3 M HCl did not show any effect either on mucosal damage or depletion of intramucosal mucus induced by absolute ethanol. These findings suggest that only 20% ethanol shows histological cytoprotection, which would involve various components of the autonomic nervous system and endogenous mediators. Furthermore, this investigation also implies a new perspective: that in order to study a true adaptive cytoprotection, histological examination of the gastric mucosa should be performed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1248-1257
Number of pages10
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1998

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Adaptive cytoprotection
  • Gastric mucosa
  • Histological damage
  • Intramucosal mucus
  • Mucosal damage


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