Effects of melatonin and tryptophan on healing of gastric and duodenal ulcers with Helicobacter pylori infection in humans

J Physiol Pharmacol. 2011 Oct;62(5):521-6.


Melatonin (MT) and its precursor L-tryptophan (TRP) are implicated in the protection of gastric mucosa against aspirin-induced lesions and in the acceleration of healing of idiopathic gastro-duodenal ulcers, but no information is available whether these agents are also effective in healing of gastroduodenal ulcers accompanied by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection. In this study three groups A, B and C, each including 7 H. pylori-positive patients with gastric ulcers and 7 H. pylori-positive patients with duodenal ulcers, aging 28-50 years, were randomly assigned for the treatment with omeprazole 20 mg twice daily combined with placebo (group A), MT administered in a dose of 5 mg twice daily (group B) or TRP applied in a dose of 250 mg twice daily (group C). All patients underwent routine endoscopy at day 0 during which the gastric mucosa was evaluated and gastric biopsies were taken for the presence of H. pylori and histopathological evaluation. The rate of ulcer healing was determined by gastroduodenoscopy at day 0, 7, 14 and 21 after the initiation of the therapy. Plasma MT, gastrin, ghrelin and leptin were measured by specific RIA. At day 21, all ulcers were healed in patients of groups B and C but only 3 out of 7 in group A of gastric ulcers and 3 out of 7 in duodenal ulcers. Initial plasma MT showed similar low levels in all three groups but it increased several folds above initial values in ulcer patients at day 7, 14 and 21. Plasma gastrin and leptin levels showed a significant rise over initial values in patients treated with omeprazole and placebo, MT or TRP while plasma ghrelin levels were not significantly affected by these treatments. We conclude that MT or TRP added to omeprazole treatment, significantly accelerates healing rate of H. pylori infected chronic gastroduodenal ulcers over that obtained with omeprazole alone and this likely depends upon the significant rise in plasma MT and possibly also in leptin levels, both hormones involved in the mechanism of gastroprotection and ulcer healing.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Infective Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Ulcer Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Ulcer Agents / blood
  • Anti-Ulcer Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Duodenal Ulcer / blood
  • Duodenal Ulcer / drug therapy*
  • Duodenal Ulcer / microbiology
  • Duodenal Ulcer / pathology
  • Gastric Mucosa / drug effects
  • Gastric Mucosa / microbiology
  • Gastric Mucosa / pathology
  • Gastrins / blood
  • Gastroscopy
  • Ghrelin / blood
  • Helicobacter Infections / blood
  • Helicobacter Infections / drug therapy*
  • Helicobacter Infections / microbiology
  • Helicobacter Infections / pathology
  • Helicobacter pylori / drug effects
  • Helicobacter pylori / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / drug effects
  • Intestinal Mucosa / microbiology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Leptin / blood
  • Melatonin / administration & dosage
  • Melatonin / blood
  • Melatonin / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Omeprazole / administration & dosage
  • Omeprazole / therapeutic use
  • Stomach Ulcer / blood
  • Stomach Ulcer / drug therapy*
  • Stomach Ulcer / microbiology
  • Stomach Ulcer / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tryptophan / administration & dosage
  • Tryptophan / blood
  • Tryptophan / therapeutic use*
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Anti-Ulcer Agents
  • Gastrins
  • Ghrelin
  • Leptin
  • Tryptophan
  • Melatonin
  • Omeprazole