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Current knowledge on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced small-bowel damage: a comprehensive review

Authors
  • Watanabe, Toshio1
  • Fujiwara, Yasuhiro1
  • Chan, Francis K. L.2
  • 1 Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine,
  • 2 The Chinese University of Hong Kong,
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Gastroenterology
Publisher
Springer Singapore
Publication Date
Dec 21, 2019
Volume
55
Issue
5
Pages
481–495
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s00535-019-01657-8
PMID: 31865463
PMCID: PMC7188723
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Recent advances in small-bowel endoscopy such as capsule endoscopy have shown that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) frequently damage the small intestine, with the prevalence rate of mucosal breaks of around 50% in chronic users. A significant proportion of patients with NSAIDs-induced enteropathy are asymptomatic, but some patients develop symptomatic or complicated ulcers that need therapeutic intervention. Both inhibition of prostaglandins due to the inhibition of cyclooxygenases and mitochondrial dysfunction secondary to the topical effect of NSAIDs play a crucial role in the early process of injury. As a result, the intestinal barrier function is impaired, which allows enterobacteria to invade the mucosa. Gram-negative bacteria and endogenous molecules coordinate to trigger inflammatory cascades via Toll-like receptor 4 to induce excessive expression of cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-α and to activate NLRP3 inflammasome, a multiprotein complex that processes pro-interleukin-1β into its mature form. Finally, neutrophils accumulate in the mucosa, resulting in intestinal ulceration. Currently, misoprostol is the only drug that has a proven beneficial effect on bleeding small intestinal ulcers induced by NSAIDs or low-dose aspirin, but its protection is insufficient. Therefore, the efficacy of the combination of misoprostol with other drugs, especially those targeting the innate immune system, should be assessed in the next step.

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