Role of dietary phospholipids and phytosterols in protection against peptic ulceration as shown by experiments on rats

World J Gastroenterol. 2015 Feb 7;21(5):1377-84. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i5.1377.


Geographically the prevalence of duodenal ulceration is related to the staple foods in the diet in regions of developing countries where the diet is stable. It is higher in regions where the diet is based on milled rice, refined wheat or maize, yams, cassava, sweet potato, or green bananas, and is lower in regions where the staple diet is based on unrefined wheat or maize, soya, certain millets or certain pulses. Experiments on rat gastric and duodenal ulcer models showed that it was the lipid fraction in staple foods from low prevalence areas that was protective against both gastric and duodenal ulceration, including ulceration due to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It also promoted ulcer healing. The lipid from the pulse, Dolichos biflorus, horse gram which was highly protective was used to identify the fractions with protective activity in the lipid. The protective activity lay in the phospholipid, sterol and sterol ester fractions. In the phospholipid fraction phosphatidyl choline (lethicin) and phosphatidyl ethanolamine (cephalin) were predominant. In the sterol fraction the sub-fractions showing protective activity contained β-sitosterol, stigmasterol, and an unidentified isomer of β-sitosterol. The evidence from animal models shows that certain dietary phospholipids and phytosterols have a protective action against gastroduodenal ulceration, both singly and in combination. This supports the protective role of staple diets in areas of low duodenal ulcer prevalence and may prove to be of importance in the prevention and treatment of duodenal ulceration and management of recurrent ulcers. A combination of phospholipids and phytosterols could also play an important role in protection against ulceration due to NSAIDs.

Keywords: Mucosal protection; Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; Peptic ulceration; Staple diet; Sterols and phospholipids.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytoprotection
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Duodenal Ulcer / etiology
  • Duodenal Ulcer / metabolism
  • Duodenal Ulcer / pathology
  • Duodenal Ulcer / prevention & control*
  • Duodenum / drug effects*
  • Duodenum / metabolism
  • Duodenum / pathology
  • Gastric Mucosa / metabolism
  • Phospholipids / administration & dosage*
  • Phospholipids / metabolism
  • Phytosterols / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage
  • Rats
  • Stomach / drug effects*
  • Stomach / pathology
  • Stomach Ulcer / etiology
  • Stomach Ulcer / metabolism
  • Stomach Ulcer / pathology
  • Stomach Ulcer / prevention & control*


  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Phospholipids
  • Phytosterols
  • Plant Oils
  • wheat germ oil