Effects of autonomic nervous system on gastric damage by ethanol in the rat

D. Foschi, L. Castoldi, P. Del Soldato, M. Musazzi, F. Callioni, V. Rovati, E. Trabucchi, W. Montorsi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To study whether or not the autonomic nervous system influences the defense mechanisms of the gastric mucosa, groups of Sprague-Dawley rats were given stimulants and inhibitors of the different components of the vagus and celiac nerves before administration of absolute or 70% w/v ethanol. The effects of vagotomy and sympathectomy on "adaptive cytoprotection" were studied, as were the effects of blocking the muscarinic receptors and stimulation of β-adrenergic receptors. We found that: (1) cholinomimetic agents and norepinephrine make the damage caused by 70% ethanol worse; (2) atropine is the only agent that fully protects against absolute ethanol; (3) vagotomy and sympathectomy abolish the effects of atropine and adaptive cytoprotection; and (4) β-adrenergic stimulation replaces conditions that allow adaptive cytoprotection and the protection by anticholinergics. These results suggest that two different reflexes are triggered by ethanol: when low concentrations are given, the β-adrenergic-mediated effect is prevalent, with protection of the mucosa; when high concentrations are given, the cholinergic- mediated effect is prevalent with damage of the mucosa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)688-693
Number of pages6
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1989


  • adrenergic system
  • anticholinergics
  • celiac nerve
  • ethanol
  • vagotomy
  • vagus nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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