The distribution of mucosal PGE2-like activity was determined by bioassay technique in the body and antrum of the stomach and in the duodenum of healthy subjects and duodenal ulcer patients before and after administration of aspirin, paracetamol, or histamine. In healthy subjects, the oxyntic, antral and duodenal mucosa was found to be capable of generating large amounts of PGE2, which were not significantly different from those found in duodenal ulcer patients. No correlation was found between the generation of PGE2 and gastric acid secretory status or serum gastrin level. Aspirin-and to a much lesser extent, paracetamol-caused a dramatic reduction in the ability of the gastric mucosa to biosynthesis PGE2 and this was accompanied by marked side-effects and injury to the gastric mucosa. Administration of histamine caused small but significant reduction in the biosynthesis of PGE2 but it was accompanied by marked mucosal damage. This study indicates that the gastric and duodenal mucosa is capable of generating PGE2-like activity which may be involved in the mechanism that protects the mucosa against the damage caused by aspirin.
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