Background. Short-term treatment with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) causes morphologic, but not macroscopic, gastric injury and decreases gastric injury caused by a subsequent challenge with a luminal irritant. This effect is abrogated by inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) inhibition. The effects of long-term treatment with LPS on gastric injury are unknown as is the role of iNOS. We hypothesized that LPS would cause macroscopic gastric injury at later time points through an iNOS-dependent pathway. Methods. Conscious rats were given saline or LPS (1 or 20 mg/kg intraperitoneal) as a single intraperitoneal injection and killed 24 to 72 hours after injection. Macroscopic gastric injury (computerized planimetry), gastric luminal fluid volume and pH, and iNOS protein levels were assessed. Results. When compared with saline, high-dose but not low-dose LPS caused macroscopic gastric injury, increased gastric luminal fluid and pH, and up-regulated iNOS at 24 and 48 hours. All assessments returned to baseline by 72 hours. Inhibition of iNOS with 1400W (1 mg/kg intraperitoneal) given 15 minutes before saline or LPS (20 mg/kg) attenuated the deleterious effects of LPS on gastric injury and pH, but not fluid accumulation. Conclusions. These data suggest that prolonged treatment with high-dose LPS causes gastric injury through an iNOS-mediated pathway.
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