We previously reported that several gastric irritants, including ethanol, hydrogen peroxide, and hydrochloric acid, induced both necrosis and apoptosis in cultured gastric mucosal cells. In the present study, we examined the effects of sucralfate, a unique gastroprotective drug, on gastric irritant-induced necrosis and apoptosis produced in vitro. Sucralfate strongly inhibited ethanol-induced necrosis in primary cultures of guinea pig gastric mucosal cells. The preincubation of cells with sucralfate was not necessary for its cytoprotective effect to be observed, thus making its mechanism of action different from that of other gastroprotective drugs. Necrosis of gastric mucosal cells induced by hydrogen peroxide or indomethacin was also suppressed by sucralfate. On the other hand, sucralfate only weakly inhibited ethanol-induced apoptosis. These results suggest that the cytoprotective effect of sucralfate on gastric mucosa in vivo can be explained, at least in part, by its inhibitory effect on gastric irritant-induced necrosis.
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