The healing of gastric ulcer is a complicated process that involves the proliferation of epithelial and endothelial cells and the concerted actions of a wide range of growth factors. Prostaglandins play an important role in ulcer healing. Expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is markedly upregulated around the margins of gastric ulcers and its inhibition leads to a delay of ulcer healing. Several of the growth factors that promote ulcer healing may work in part through COX- 2-dependent mechanisms. Angiogenesis, which is crucial to ulcer healing, is tightly regulated by growth factors. Treatment with selective COX-2 inhibitors appears to alter the balance of serum levels of growth factors, favoring an inhibition of angiogenesis. Given the importance of COX-2 in regulating ulcer healing, caution should be taken in the use of selective inhibitors of COX-2 by patients at risk of ulcer disease.
Keywords: ulcer healing, angiogenesis, cyclooxygenase, prostaglandin, endothelium, platelets
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