Prevention of stress-induced gastric ulcers by dopamine agonists in the rat

Daniel E. Hernandez, Jimmie W. Adcock, Roy C. Orlando, Kennerly S. Patrick, Charles B. Nemeroff, Arthur J. Prange

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71 Scopus citations


Dopamine (DA) and DA agonists have been shown to exert a protective role against the formation of duodenal ulcers. The effect of stimulation of DA receptors on the development of stress-induced gastric ulcers is currently unknown. Accordingly, we evaluated the effect of several DA agonists on the development of gastric ulcers induced by 3 h of cold + restraint stress (CRS) in rats. Apomorphine, d-amphetamine, methylphenidate, and threo-dl-p-hydroxymethylphenidate (an hydroxylated analog of methylphenidate), significantly reduced both the incidence and severity of CRS-induced gastric ulcers. The gastric cytoprotection afforded by these agents was dose-related, and completely antagonized by pretreatment with the peripheally acting DA antagonist domperidone. Because domperidone blocks peripheral, but not central, DA receptors, and since the entry of threo-dl-p-hydroxymethylphenidate across the blood-brain barrier into the brain is restricted to a great extent, we conclude that stimulation of peripheral DA receptors is primarily involved in the gastric cytoprotection induced by dopamimetics. The pathogenesis of stress-induced gastric ulcers remains largely unknown, and significant efforts have been made over the last decade to functionally characterize some of the factors involved in the etiology of this disease. Considerable attention has been focused on gastric acid secretion, but its primary role in stress-induced gastric ulcer disease remains uncertain. In fact, agents which effectively inhibit or neutralize gastric acid secretion such as cimetidine or antacids do not necessarily exert protection against stress-induced gastric ulcers (1,2). Moreover, in our original studies with neurotensin, a brain and gastrointestinal peptide, we have found that central administration of this neuropeptide, which completely prevents the development of cold + restraint stress (CRS)-induced gastric ulcers, does not appreciably alter gastric acid secretion (2). These findings support the contention that gastric acid secretion may not be an important factor in the development of this type of gastric ulcer. There is, however, considerable evidence that the automatic nervous system plays an intermediary role in the development of these ulcers (3,4). In this regard, surgical or pharmacological blockade of the vagal (cholinergic) division of the autonomic nervous system prevents the appearance of stress-associated gastric ulcers (5,6). Direct stimulation of catecholamine receptors, or indirect activation via increased sympathetic outflow to the periphery (7,4,8-11) appears to produce a salutary effect of stress-induced gastric ulcers. Szabo and his associates (12, 13, 14) have extensively studied the anti ulcer effects of dopamine (DA) in duodenal ulcer formation. Whether DA also modifies the development of stress-induced gastric ulcers is currently unknown. We have therefore evaluated the effect of selected DA receptor agonists and antagonists on CRS-induced gastric ulcer formation in rats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2453-2458
Number of pages6
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 10 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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