Pretreatment with prostaglandins at non-antisecretory doses protects the gastric mucosa, including the parietal cells, from deep necrosis produced by intragastric administration of necrotising agents such as absolute ethanol. Whether the parietal cells also retained their ability to secrete acid when rats were pretreated with a prostaglandin, in spite of exposure to ethanol, was investigated. Gastric acid secretion was abolished 4 hours after ethanol, and secretion returned to control values only after 5-6 days. Pretreatment with a single, non-antisecretory dose of 16, 16-dimethyl prostaglandin E2 (dm PGE2) maintained acid secretion, in spite of exposure to absolute ethanol. Absolute ethanol caused histological changes - extensive gastric mucosal necrosis (through the muscularis mucosae), oedema, haemorrhages, polymorphonuclear infiltration, and formation of granulation tissue - that were maximal 24-48 hours after ethanol and persisted for 2 to 4 weeks. None of these changes were present in animals treated with the prostaglandin. It is concluded that a single oral pretreatment with dmPGE2 protects the gastric mucosa against not only the morphological damage of absolute ethanol (preventing necrosis, haemorrhages, and polymorphonuclear infiltration) but also the functional damage (maintaining the acid secretory function of parietal cells).
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