Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are reportedly associated with gastric ulcer. We previously reported the use of an in vivo 300-MHz electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy/nitroxyl probe technique to detect •OH generation in the stomachs of rats with gastric ulcers induced by NH4OH. However, this is an acute ulcer model, and the relationship between in vivo ROS generation and lesion formation remains to be clarified. To address this question, the same technique was applied to a sub-acute water immersion restraint (WIR model. A nitroxyl probe that was less membrane-permeable was orally administered to WIR-treated rats, and the spectra in the gastric region were obtained by in vivo ESR spectroscopy. The signal intensity of the orally administered probe was clearly changed in the WIR group, but no change occurred in the control group. Both enhanced signal decay and neutrophil infiltration into mucosa were observed 2 h after WIR with little formation of any mucosal lesions. The enhanced signal decay was caused by •OH generation, based on the finding that the decay was suppressed by mannitol, desferrioxamine and catalase. Intravenous treatment with either anti-neutrophil antibody or allopurinol also suppressed the enhanced signal decay, and allopurinol depressed neutrophil infiltration into the mucosa. In rats treated with WIR for 6 h, lesion formation was suppressed by 50% with all antioxidants used in this experiment except anti-neutrophil antibody. These findings suggest that •OH, which is generated in the stomach via the hypoxanthine/xanthine oxidase system upon neutrophil infiltrated into the mucosa, induces mucosal lesion formation, but that it accounts for only half the cause of lesion formation.
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