Pepsin, acid and Helicobacter pylori are major factors in the pathophysiology of peptic ulcer disease and reflux oesophagitis. Ecabet sodium reduces the survival of H. pylori in the stomach and inhibits pepsin activity in the gastric juice of experimental animals. Here we have investigated the effects of ecabet sodium on some of the factors involved in the dynamics of the mucosal barrier, i.e. pepsins and mucins. This study used gastric juice obtained from 12 non-symptomatic volunteers and nine patients with reflux oesophagitis. Ecabet sodium significantly inhibited pepsin activity in human gastric juice, with a maximum inhibition of 78%. Pepsin 1, the ulcer-associated pepsin, was inhibited to the greatest extent. The ability of gastric juice to digest mucin was significantly inhibited by ecabet. As with gastric juice proteolytic activity, the inhibitory effect of ecabet on mucolysis was greater in gastric juice from patients with reflux oesophagitis than in that from controls. Ecabet sodium showed a positive interaction with gastric mucin, as assessed by an increase in viscosity. Thus ecabet sodium may reduce the aggressive potential of gastric juice towards the mucosa, which may be relevant in the treatment of reflux oesophagitis and peptic ulcer disease. In addition, it may strengthen the mucus barrier in peptic ulcer disease and gastritis.

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