Sex differences and effects of oestrogen in rat gastric mucosal defence

Richard Shore, Håkan Björne, Yoko Omoto, Anna Siemiatkowska, Jan Åke Gustafsson, Mats Lindblad, Lena Holm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


AIM: To evaluate sex differences and the effects of oestrogen administration in rat gastric mucosal defence. METHODS: Sex differences in gastric mucus thickness and accumulation rate, absolute gastric mucosal blood flow using microspheres, the integrity of the gastric mucosal epithelium in response to a chemical irritant and the effects of oestrogen administration on relative gastric mucosal blood flow in an acute setting was assessed in an in vivo rat experimental model. Subsequently, sex differences in the distribution of oestrogen receptors and calcitonin gene related peptide in the gastric mucosa of animals exposed to oestrogen in the above experiments was evaluated using immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: The absolute blood flow in the GI-tract was generally higher in males, but only significantly different in the corpus part of the stomach (1.12 ± 0.12 mL/min·g in males and 0.51 ± 0.03 mL/min·g in females) (P = 0.002). After removal of the loosely adherent mucus layer the thickness of the firmly adherent mucus layer in males and females was 79 ± 1 μm and 80 ± 3 μm respectively. After 60 min the mucus thickness increased to 113 ± 3 μm in males and 121 ± 3 μm in females with no statistically significant difference seen between the sexes. Following oestrogen administration (0.1 followed by 1 μg/kg·min), mean blood flow in the gastric mucosa decreased by 31% [68 ± 13 perfusion units (PFU)] in males which was significantly different compared to baseline (P = 0.02). In females however, mean blood flow remained largely unchanged with a 4% (5 ± 33 PFU) reduction. The permeability of the gastric mucosa increased to a higher level in females than in males (P = 0.01) after taurocholate challenge. However, the calculated mean clearance increase did not significantly differ between the sexes [0.1 ± 0.04 to 1.1 ± 0.1 mL/min·100 g in males and 0.4 ± 0.3 to 2.1 ± 0.3 mL/min·100 g in females (P = 0.065)]. There were no significant differences between 17β-Estradiol treated males (mean ratio of positive staining ± SEM) (0.06 ± 0.07) and females (0.11 ± 0.11) in the staining of ERα (P = 0.24). Also, there were no significant differences between 17β-Estradiol treated males (0.18 ± 0.21) and females (0.06 ± 0.12) in the staining of ERβ (P = 0.11). Finally, there were no significant differences between 17β-Estradiol treated males (0.04 ± 0.05) and females (0.11 ± 0.10) in the staining of CGRP(P = 0.14). CONCLUSION: Gastric mucosal blood flow is higher in male than in female rats and is reduced in male rats by oestrogen administration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)426-436
Number of pages11
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 21 2017


  • Blood flow
  • Gastric mucosal defence
  • Gastric physiology
  • Mucus
  • Oestrogen
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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