• stress;
  • glucocorticoids;
  • gastric injury;
  • gastroprotection;
  • indomethacin

Abstract: Our previous results demonstrate the gastroprotective but not ulcerogenic action of glucocorticoids released in response to ulcerogenic stress factors. The present study was undertaken to investigate the possible mechanisms underlying the gastroprotective action of glucocorticoids in rat stomachs. The effects of deficiency of glucocorticoid production, with or without corticosterone supplementation, on blood flow velocity in gastric microvessels, microvascular permeability, mucus production, motility as well as gastric lesions were studied 3 to 4 h after the onset of ulcerogenic stimuli: water-restraint stress or indomethacin administration. The contribution of glucocorticoids in the healing process of gastric injury was also evaluated. The deficiency in glucocorticoid production significantly potentiated the functional disorders induced by ulcerogenic stimuli, such as a decrease in blood flow velocity and mucus production and an increase in gastric motility and in microvascular permeability, which resulted in aggravation of the formation of gastric lesions as well as impairment of their healing. The changes observed were prevented by supplementation of corticosterone at a dose mimicking a stress-induced corticosterone rise. We conclude that a gastroprotective action of glucocorticoids may be provided by multiple actions, including maintenance of the gastric mucosal blood flow and mucus production, attenuation of the enhanced gastric motility and microvascular permeability as well as beneficial influences on healing processes.