The effects of intragastric administration of geranylgeranylacetone (GGA) on the content, composition and physical properties of the mucus component of the gastric mucosal barrier were investigated. One group of rats received twice daily for 3 consecutive days a dose of 100 mg/kg body weight of GGA, while the control group was subjected to daily doses of the vehicle. Sixteen hours following the last dose, the animals were killed, and their stomach was cut open and subjected to measurements of the adherent mucus gel content, analysis of its lipids and molecular forms of elaborated mucin, and evaluation of the viscosity and H+ retardation capacity. The results revealed that GGA elicited a 62% increase in the adherent mucus gel and caused a marked decrease in the proportion of the lower molecular weight mucin. Furthermore, the mucus of the GGA group exhibited a 67% higher content of covalently bound fatty acids and contained 46% more total lipids which were greatly (143%) enriched in phospholipids. The physical measurements demonstrated that mucus elaborated in the presence of GGA also exhibited 2.3 times higher viscosity and had a 32% greater ability to retard the diffusion of H+ than the mucus of the control group. The results suggest that GGA exerts a profound effect on the lipid content and the properties of gastric mucus associated with the maintenance of the mucosal integrity.
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