Interaction of indomethacin and naproxen with gastric surface-active phospholipids: a possible mechanism for the gastric toxicity of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Biochem Pharmacol. 1999 Feb 1;57(3):247-54. doi: 10.1016/s0006-2952(98)00303-7.


The possibility that the molecular mechanism underlying the topical gastric irritancy of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may involve alterations in the surface-active properties of gastric phospholipids was investigated. Indomethacin and naproxen were intragastrically administered to rats and the hydrophobicity of the luminal surface of the stomach wall was assessed by contact angle analysis. Both NSAIDs have the ability to attenuate the phospholipid-related hydrophobic properties of the gastric mucosa by more than 80-85% in a dose-dependent fashion. Potential molecular interactions between both NSAIDs and surface-active phospholipids were analyzed using fluorescent probes. Indomethacin has the ability to displace, in a dose-dependent manner, ANS (1-anilino-8-naphthalene sulphonate), a fluorescent anionic probe previously bound to the head group of phosphatidylcholine molecules. Estimations of the resonance fluorescence transfer between naproxen and the surface probe ANS or the hydrophobic probe, pyrene, bound to dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) vesicles revealed that naproxen diffuses within the phospholipid bilayers. The dynamic of the gastric lipid material extracted from the surface scraping material (SSM) of the mucosa was altered by the NSAID as shown by the increase in the steady-state fluorescence anisotropy of 1,6-diphenyl-1,3,5-hexatriene (DPH) (at 25 degrees, rSSM = 0.106+/-0.006, rssM + indomethacin = 0.137+/-0.005, and rSSM + naproxen = 0.133+/-0.007, P < 0.001). The thermodynamic behavior of a model bilayer containing DPPC was also perturbed by the NSAIDs tested. These results provide evidence that NSAIDs may reduce the ability of gastric surface-active phospholipids to form a hydrophobic protective layer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / metabolism*
  • Gastric Mucosa / drug effects*
  • Gastric Mucosa / metabolism
  • Indomethacin / adverse effects
  • Indomethacin / metabolism*
  • Liposomes
  • Male
  • Naproxen / adverse effects
  • Naproxen / metabolism*
  • Phospholipids / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Solubility
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Surface-Active Agents / metabolism*
  • Water / chemistry


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Liposomes
  • Phospholipids
  • Surface-Active Agents
  • Water
  • Naproxen
  • Indomethacin