: Endothelins have been implicated in gastric mucosal damage in a variety of animal models. Exogenous ET‐1 and ET‐3 are causally associated with experimental gastric ulcers. Furthermore, clinical reports also show elevated plasma and gastric mucosal endothelin‐1 levels in patients suffering from peptic ulcers.
: To study the possibility that endothelin receptor antagonists may have beneficial effects and prevent the development of gastric ulcers. We have tested in rats the orally‐active endothelin antagonist bosentan (Ro 47‐0203) and Ro 48‐5695, which is 10–30 times more potent than bosentan on endothelin receptors.
: Water immersion restrained stress (WIRS) and indomethacin were used to provoke gastric mucosal damage. Endothelin receptor antagonists were administered orally prior to the induction of gastric damage. The gastric lesion index (mm), assessed macroscopically, and myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity were used as markers of the extent of mucosal injury.
: Bosentan at 100 and 30 mg/kg administered orally caused attenuation of gastric damage in the WIRS model by 58% and 42%, respectively. Bosentan also caused complete reduction of MPO activity. In indomethacin‐induced gastric damage, 100 mg/kg bosentan attenuated gastric damage by 45% and 61% as measured by the gastric lesion index and MPO activity respectively. Ro 48‐5695 was at least 30 times more potent than bosentan in reducing indomethacin‐induced mucosal damage and at 3 mg/kg, caused a decrease of 49% in the gastric lesion index and a reduction in MPO activity of 41%. Bosentan and Ro 48‐5695 possess weak antisecretory properties as tested in the mouse gastric gland assay, than cannot, alone, account for their anti‐ulcer properties.
: Both endothelin receptor antagonists prevented the development of gastric mucosal injury in the rat. Disturbances in the gastric microcirculation are responsible for the development of experimental gastric ulcers. The anti‐ulcer properties of these two endothelin antagonists suggest possible new therapeutic approaches to controlling gastric inflammation.