Gastroprotection by vitamin C - A heme oxygenase-1-dependent mechanism?

Jan C. Becker, Nina Grosser, Peter Boknik, Henning Schröder, Wolfram Domschke, Thorsten Pohle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Free oxygen radicals contribute to gastric mucosal damage induced by acetylic-salicylic acid (ASA). Vitamin C has been shown to reduce gastric toxicity of ASA in humans. We intended to assess the role of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in this process by application of these substances to AGS and KATO III cells. HO-1 expression was monitored by real-time RT-PCR, Western blot, and HO activity measurement. HO-1 mRNA was significantly elevated by either ASA or vitamin C in gastric epithelial cells, combination of both substances further increased expression. HO-1 protein and enzyme activity rose in cells exposed to vitamin C alone or combined with ASA, but not after stimulation with ASA alone. In contrast to endothelia, in which ASA simultaneously induces HO-1 mRNA and protein expression, gastric epithelial cells require vitamin C to translate HO-1 mRNA into active protein, which then may exert gastroprotection by its antioxidant and vasodilative properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-512
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 12 2003
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The excellent technical assistance of Mrs. Nicole Robbins is greatly appreciated. Part of the work was supported by a grant from Bayer Vital GmbH, Leverkusen, Germany. We wish to express our thanks to Professor J. Neumann, Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Münster, for his thoughtful comments on and review of the manuscript. Parts of these studies were presented at the DDW in Orlando (USA), May 2003 and have been published as an abstract (Gastroenterology 2003;125: A-171).


  • Acetylic-salicylic acid
  • Gastric epithelial cells
  • Gastroprotection
  • Heme oxygenase
  • Protein expression
  • Real-time RT-PCR
  • Vitamin C


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