Recent advances in endoscopic techniques such as capsule endoscopy have revealed that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) often cause ulcers in the small intestine in humans, but there are few effective agents for treatment of small intestinal ulcers. Although the pathogenesis of NSAID-induced intestinal ulcer has been widely studied, dietary factors have seldom been considered. In the present review, the role of dietary fiber (DF) in the formation of NSAID-induced intestinal ulcers is discussed. In previous studies, small intestinal lesions were not observed when NSAIDs were administered to fasted rats, dogs, and cats, but were observed in conventionally-fed animals, suggesting the importance of feeding in the formation of intestinal lesions induced by NSAIDs. However, in animals fed diets containing low or no DF, indomethacin (IND) did not produce lesions in the small intestine, but did produce lesions in animals fed diets supplemented with insoluble dietary fiber (IDF, cellulose). The results suggest that IDF in the diet plays an important role in the formation of NSAID-induced intestinal lesions. On the other hand, addition of soluble dietary fibers (SDFs) such as pectin or mucin to regular diet markedly decreased NSAID-induced intestinal lesions. Thus, IDF and SDF have opposing effects on IND-induced intestinal lesions, i.e., IDF is harmful while SDF is protective. SDFs potentially represent a novel and safe means for protecting the small intestine against NSAID-induced intestinal lesions.
Keywords: NSAID, indomethacin, intestinal ulcer, dietary fiber, cellulose, pectin, guar gum, cat
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