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The Mechanisms of Gastric Mucosal Injury: Focus on Microvascular Endothelium as a Key Target

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This paper reviews and updates current views on gastric mucosal injury with a focus on the microvascular endothelium as the key target and the role of the anti-apoptosis protein survivin. Under normal conditions, mucosal integrity is maintained by well structured and mutually amplifying defense mechanisms, which include pre-epithelial “barrier” - the first line of defense; and, an epithelial “barrier”. Other important defense mechanisms of gastric mucosa include: continuous epithelial cell renewal, blood flow through mucosal microvessels (providing oxygen and nutrients), an endothelial microvascular “barrier,” sensory innervation, and generation of PGs, nitric oxide and hydrogen sulfide. The microvascular endothelium lining gastric mucosal blood microvessels severs not only as a barrier but is a biologically active tissue involved in many synthetic and metabolic functions. It allows transport of oxygen and nutrients, and produces prostaglandins and leukotriens, procoagulant factors, nitric oxide, endothelin, ghrelin, HSP, growth factors such VEGF, bFGF, angiopoietin 2 and others, specific types of collagen, plasminogen activator, and can also actively contract. Accumulating evidence indicates that the gastric microvascular endothelium is a critical target for injury by ethanol, NSAIDs, free radicals, ischemiareperfusion and other damaging factors. The injury - microvessel rupture, plasma and erythrocyte extravasation, platelet aggregation and fibrin deposition caused by these damaging factors - occurs early (1-5 min), precedes glandular epithelial cell injury and results in cessation of blood flow, ischemia, hypoxia and impaired oxygen and nutrient transport. As a consequence, mucosal necrosis develops. One of the main reasons for the increased susceptibility of gastric microvascular endothelial (vs. epithelial) cells to injury is reduced expression levels of survivin, an anti-apoptosis protein, which is a regulator of both proliferation and cell survival.

Keywords: Gastric mucosa; anti-apoptosis; apoptosis; biologically active tissue; endothelial microvascular; endothelium; injury; microvessels; pre-epithelial “barrier”; proliferation and cell survival; survivin

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-01-01

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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