Physiological mediators in nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)-induced impairment of gastric mucosal defense and adaptation. Focus on nitric oxide and lipoxins

J Physiol Pharmacol. 2008 Aug:59 Suppl 2:89-102.


Prostaglandins mediate various physiological aspects of mucosal defense and the suppression of prostaglandin synthesis in the stomach is a critical event in terms of the development of mucosal injury after NSAID administration. However, it has become clear that other mediators besides prostaglandins can similarly act to protect the stomach from injury. For instance, nitric oxide (NO) released from vascular epithelium, epithelial cells of gastrointestinal tract and sensory nerves can influence many of the same components of mucosal defense as do prostaglandins. Thus, administration of NO in a form of NO-donors exert protective influence on the stomach from the injury that usually occurs when mucosal prostaglandin levels are suppressed. The new class of NO releasing NSAIDs, including NO-aspirin, represent a very promising approach to reducing the toxicity of anti-inflammatory drugs. Lipoxins are another group of lipid mediators that can protect the stomach. Aspirin-triggered lipoxin synthesis, via COX-2, acts to reduce the severity of damage induced by this drug. Lipoxin analogues may prove to be useful for preventing mucosal injury and for modulating mucosal inflammation. Aspirin-triggered lipoxin also seems to play in important role in gastric adaptation during chronic aspirin administration. Suppression of COX-2 activity by selective COX-2 inhibitors abolishes the production of this endogenous gastroprotective substance and diminishes the gastric tolerability of NSAIDS and gastric adaptation to these drugs. This review was designed to give an updated overview on the physiological factors and experimental and clinical attempts that were used or may be used in the future as the therapeutic approach to counteract adverse effects in the stomach associated with NSAID ingestion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects*
  • Aspirin / adverse effects*
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / metabolism
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Gastric Mucosa / drug effects*
  • Gastric Mucosa / metabolism
  • Gastric Mucosa / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lipoxins / biosynthesis
  • Lipoxins / pharmacology*
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide Donors / pharmacology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
  • Lipoxins
  • Nitric Oxide Donors
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Aspirin