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Role ofl-arginine, a substrate for nitric oxide-synthase, in gastroprotection and ulcer healing


Nitric oxide (NO) synthesized froml-arginine interacts with prostaglandins (PG) and sensory neuropeptides in the regulation of mucosal integrity, but the role ofl-arginine, a substrate for NO-synthase, in gastroprotection and healing of chronic gastric ulcers has been little studied. In this study we compared the effects of intragastric (i.g.) and systemic (i.v.) administration ofl-arginine ord-arginine on gastric secretion and acute gastric lesions provoked in rats by i.g. application of 100% ethanol, acidified aspirin (ASA), or the exposure to 3.5h of water immersion and restraint stress (WRS). In addition, the effects ofl-arginine on ulcer healing and the formation of new vessels (angiogenesis) were determined, using monoclonal antibody (MAb E-9).l-arginine (10–200 mg/kg i.g.) failed to significantly affect gastric secretion but dose-dependently reduced the gastric lesions induced by 100% ethanol, ASA, and WRS, the doses inhibiting 50% of these lesions being 65, 94, and 72 mg/kg, respectively. This protection was accompanied by a significant rise in the gastric blood flow (GBF), whereasl-arginine given i.v. failed to affect the ethanol-lesions and the GBF.d-arginine or the NO-related amino acids—l-glutamine,l-citrulline, orl-ornithine—failed to significantly influence these lesions. Suppression of the generation of mucosal PG by indomethacin or capsaicin-denervation attenuated the protection and hyperemia induced byl-arginine. The inhibition of constitutive NO synthase byl-NNA had no significant effect on the protection afforded byl-arginine, but reduced the gastric hyperemia accompanying this protection.l-arginine (150 mg/kg per day, i.g.) accelerated the ulcer healing and increased GBF at the ulcer margin, and angiogenesis, whereas treatment with L-NNA had an opposite effect.l-arginine added to NG-nitro-l-arginine (L-NNA) restored the ulcer healing, hyperemia, and angiogenesis. We conclude that: (1) the protective activity ofl-arginine involves gastric hyperemia mediated by NO and a mild irritant effect due to enhanced generation of endogenous PG, and (2) the ulcer healing properties ofl-arginine depend upon its hyperemic and angiogenic actions, possibly involving NO.

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Correspondence to Stanislaw J. Konturek.

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Brzozowski, T., Konturek, S.J., Sliwowski, Z. et al. Role ofl-arginine, a substrate for nitric oxide-synthase, in gastroprotection and ulcer healing. J Gastroenterol 32, 442 (1997).

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Key words

  • l-arginine
  • gastroprotection
  • prostaglandins
  • nitric oxide
  • gastric blood flow
  • ulcer healing
  • angiogenesis