When considering the diseases of the stomach and duodenum, peptic ulcer disease has been the one of greatest clinical impact. Although there are several components that contribute mechanistically to ulcer disease, it is recognized that gastroduodenal mucosal prostaglandins play a central pathogenic role, especially in ulcers related to the use of NSAIDs. As a result of understanding the mechanisms of NSAID-induced ulceration, the crucial function that gastroduodenal mucosal prostaglandins have in mucosal defense and repair is appreciated. It now is held widely that mucosal prostaglandin deficiency increases susceptibility to ulcer formation and that exogenous administration of supplemental prostaglandins reduces ulcer risk. This article reviews the role that mucosal prostaglandins play in defense of the gastric and duodenal mucosa against injury and ulceration.
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