Morphine in a dose of 1 mg/kg s.c. decreased mucosal lesions induced by 100% ethanol or acidified aspirin by 79% and 85%, respectively, in rats. When the animals were pretreated with NG-nitro-L-arginine (40 mg/kg i.v.), the mucosal lesions were aggravated in both tests and the gastroprotective action of morphine decreased to 17% and 20%, respectively. This decrease in morphine protection was antagonized by L-arginine but not by D-arginine in the case of ethanol-induced lesions; however, L-arginine failed to restore the gastroprotective effect of morphine when the mucosal damage was induced by acidified aspirin. The protective action of either prostaglandin E2(0.1 mg/kg orally) or cysteamine (50 mg/kg orally) was not influenced by N-ethyl-maleimideNG-nitro-L-arginine (L-NNA). When L-NNA was given simultaneously with either indomethacin (10 mg/kg p.o.) or (50 mg/kg s.c.), compounds which also reduced the gastroprotective action of morphine, almost complete inhibition of the gastroprotective action of morphine against 100% ethanol-induced lesions was observed as a result of the addition of the inhibitory activities of the latter substances. These results suggest that: (1) Endogenous nitric oxide is likely to be involved in the gastroprotective action of morphine. (2) The protective action of nitric oxide is independent of both mucosal prostaglandins and sulfhydryls. © 1994.
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