Chronic effect of intragastric ammonia on gastric mucosal structures in rats

Dig Dis Sci. 1991 Jan;36(1):33-8. doi: 10.1007/BF01300084.


The prevalence of Helicobacter pylori (HP) in the gastric mucosa of patients with chronic atrophic gastritis has been reported to be significantly higher than in normal mucosa. To clarify the role of HP in the etiology of chronic atrophic gastritis, we assessed the effect of ammonia on the gastric mucosal structure in rats, since HP has a strong urease activity and produces abundant amounts of ammonia. Ammonia administered orally at 0.01% and 0.1% as drinking water for two to four weeks decreased the mucosal thickness and the parietal cell number and oxyntic gland number in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The decrease of mucosal thickness was significantly greater in the antral mucosa than in the body mucosa. The border between the antral and body mucosa shifted toward the cardia, reflecting the decrease in oxyntic gland numbers. Furthermore, intracellular mucin was also decreased in a dose- and time-dependent manner, especially in the antral mucosa. Thus, ammonia chronically administered orally in rats led to changes in gastric mucosal structures and functions. The results suggest that the ammonia produced by HP partly plays an etiologic role in chronic atrophic gastritis.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Ammonia / administration & dosage
  • Ammonia / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Gastric Mucosa / drug effects*
  • Gastric Mucosa / pathology
  • Male
  • Mucins / drug effects
  • Parietal Cells, Gastric / drug effects
  • Pyloric Antrum / drug effects
  • Pyloric Antrum / pathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains


  • Mucins
  • Ammonia