Effect of Fasting on the Thickness of Gastric Mucus:Experimental Study Using Laboratory Rats

Authors: T. Švestka;  T. Krechler;  A. Žák;  T. L. Fabry 1;  Z. G. Zhang 1
Authors‘ workplace: Gastroenterologické centrum IV. interní kliniky 1. LF UK a VFN, Praha MT. Sinai Medical Center, Gastroenterology Division, New York, USA
Published in: Čas. Lék. čes. 2003; : 751-754


It has been proven that damage to the gastricmucosa is the result of the combined effects of acidopepticagents including infection with Helicobacter pylori and insufficient protective mechanisms of the mucosa. Thicknessof gastric mucus is very important protective factor. We can hypothetically expect that fasting may cause changesin the thickness of gastric mucus layer, which may in certain circumstances contribute to the conditions for mucosalinjury. We have therefore conducted an experimental study on laboratory rats, aiming to assess the changes in thethickness of gastric mucus after 8 and 24-hour periods of fasting.Methods and Results. We measured gastric mucus thickness with the aid of microelectrodes in 279 laboratory rats(group I) after 8 hours of fasting (2 measurements each, total of 558 measurements), followed by the samemeasurement in 70 laboratory rats (group II) after a 24-hour fasting. Group I had a gastric mucus thickness of 595±10(mean ± SD, µm); in group II the thickness was 502±10 (mean ± SD, µm). After statistical analysis of the homogeneityof the two populations (Fisher’s analysis), it has been proven that both groups belong to the same basic populationsample. The statistical evaluation of the thickness of gastric mucus in both groups showed thinning of the mucuslayer to 1 % of the significant statistical difference. The difference between both groups is statistically significant.Conclusions. The thickness of gastric mucus is reduced after 24 hours’ fasting in laboratory rats. This change isstatistically significant (P

Key words:
protective mechanisms of gastric mucosa, thickness of gastric mucus, fasting.

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