The susceptibility of the gastric mucosa to injury by topical sodium taurocholate (40 mmol/l) in hydrochloric acid (150 mmol/l) was studied in prehepatic and cirrhotic rat models of portal hypertension. Portal venous pressure was increased in rats who had undergone partial portal vein ligation compared with rats that had undergone sham operation on days 3, 7, and 28 after operation (20.6 (0.9), 14.8 (0.8), and 11.3 (0.5) mm Hg v 7.3 (0.7), 7.3 (0.6), and 8.2 (0.2) mmHg respectively (mean (SEM)). At day 3 gastric mucosal injuries were increased in rats with partial portal vein ligation compared with sham operated rats (55.3 (9.4) vs 22.3 (10.5) mm2, p = 0.006), but at the later time intervals there was no significant difference in injuries between the two groups. In rats with carbon tetrachloride induced hepatic cirrhosis, portal pressure was increased (15.6 (1.0) v 6.7 (0.6) mmHg), but again there was no significant difference in mucosal injuries relative to control animals. We conclude that gastric mucosal defence mechanisms are impaired in acute but not chronic experimental portal hypertension.
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