Alcohol 2015 Nov 20;49(7):739-45. Epub 2015 Oct 20.
Department of Biotechnology, Daegu University, Kyoungsan, Kyoungbook 712-714, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:
In this study, we investigated the potential of thymol and its mode of action to protect against the gastric mucosal injury induced by ethanol consumption in an in vivo model. Moreover, we determined the role of thymol in regulation of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), an enzyme belonging to the metalloproteinase group, which is responsible for the remodeling of injured tissues. Sprague-Dawley rats pretreated with thymol (10 mg/kg body weight) or normal saline were subjected to intragastric administration of 95% ethanol (5 mL/kg body weight). Morphological examination included ulcer index as a measurement of hemorrhages, and hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining was performed to analyze severity of gastric mucosal damage. Gelatinase zymography of tissue extract and in situ zymography were performed to demonstrate MMP-9 activity. Results of macroscopic examination suggested that thymol significantly protected gastric mucosa from damage induced by alcohol, which was severe in the case of alcohol-only treatment. H&E data demonstrated necrosis of the corpus region in alcohol-treated rats, which was abrogated in rats pretreated with thymol. Further, thymol protected against the constriction of small arteries and neutrophil infiltration in lymphatic vessels. Expression of antioxidant enzymes increased in the thymol-pretreated group, and downregulation of MMP-9 protein expression was observed by gelatin zymography as well as in situ zymography. The results of this study suggest that thymol protects against gastric mucosa injury induced by ethanol consumption by upregulating the secretion of antioxidant enzymes and downregulating the expression of the MMP-9 protein.