Failure of ulcer healing may be critically important to the development of serious gastrointestinal complications in patients on long-term NSAIDs.


To determine the effect of indometacin, celecoxib, a cyclooxygenase-2-specific inhibitor, and nabumetone, a pro-drug, on ulcer healing rates in the rat.


Gastric ulcers were induced using a cryoprobe. An NSAID or a vehicle control was administered to groups of eight rats for 3 or 6 days (2 mg/kg indometacin, 9 mg/kg celecoxib or 40 mg/kg nabumetone). The ulcer area was measured and epithelial proliferation at the ulcer margins was measured histochemically. The effect of the drugs on intestinal prostaglandin levels was also assessed.


The mean ulcer sizes in the four groups on day 3 were comparable. On day 6, control animals and those receiving nabumetone showed significant ulcer healing (< 0.02), while the mean ulcer sizes in the indometacin (< 0.01) and celecoxib (< 0.02) groups were significantly larger than those in the control group. Higher doses of nabumetone (160 mg/kg), however, impaired healing. Intestinal prostaglandins were reduced (< 0.01) only in indometacin-treated animals. The epithelial proliferation index was significantly lower among indometacin- (P=0.02) and celecoxib-treated (P=0.03) animals compared to controls at day 3.


Celecoxib and indometacin both decreased the epithelial proliferative response and delayed healing of cryoprobe-induced gastric ulcers. In contrast, nabumetone impaired ulcer healing only at very high doses.