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Gastroenterology. 2005 Oct;129(4):1210-24.

Inhibition of hydrogen sulfide generation contributes to gastric injury caused by anti-inflammatory nonsteroidal drugs.

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Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica, Patologia, Clinica di Gastroenterologia ed Endoscopia Digestiva, University of Perugia, Italy. [email protected]



Hydrogen sulfide (H(2)S), an endogenous gaseous mediator that causes vasodilation, is generated in mammalian tissues by cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS) and cystathionine-gamma-lyase (CSE). Here, we have investigated the role of H(2)S in a rodent model of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) gastropathy.


Rats were given acetyl salycilic acid (ASA) or an NSAID alone or in combination with NaHS, an H(2)S donor, and killed 3 hours later. Gastric blood flow was measured by laser-Doppler flowmetry, whereas intravital microscopy was used to quantify adhesion of leukocytes to mesenteric postcapillary endothelium.


At a dose of 100 micromol/kg, NaHS attenuated by 60%-70% the gastric mucosal injury, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1, and lymphocyte function-associated antigen (LFA)-1 mRNA up-regulation induced by NSAIDs (P < .05) NaHS administration prevented the associated reduction of gastric mucosal blood flow (P < .05) and reduced ASA-induced leukocyte adherence in mesenteric venules. NaHS did not affect suppression of prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) synthesis by NSAIDs. Glibenclamide, a K(ATP) channel inhibitor, and DL-propargylglycine, a CSE inhibitor, exacerbated, whereas pinacidil, a K(ATP) opener, attenuated gastric injury caused by ASA. Exposure to NSAIDs reduced H(2)S formation and CSE expression (mRNA and protein) and activity by 60%-70%. By promoter deletion and mutation analysis, an Sp1 consensus site was identified in the CSE promoter. Exposure to NSAIDs inhibits Sp1 binding to its promoter and abrogates CSE expression in HEK-293 cells transfected with a vector containing the core CSE promoter. Exposure to NSAIDs inhibits Sp1 and ERK phosphorylation.


These data establish a physiologic role for H(2)S in regulating the gastric microcirculation and identify CSE as a novel target for ASA/NSAIDs.

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