Effects of aspirin on gastroduodenal permeability in alcoholics and controls

Ashkan Farhadi, Ali Keshavarzian*, Mary J. Kwasny, Maliha Shaikh, Louis Fogg, Cynthia Lau, Jeremy Z. Fields, Christopher B. Forsyth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Alcohol and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are noxious agents that can disrupt the integrity of the gastroduodenal mucosal and damage the epithelial barrier and lead to increased gastroduodenal permeability. Moreover, it is not uncommon that patients are exposed to these two barrier stressors at the same time. It is thus important to know how simultaneous exposure affects the gastroduodenal barrier, and acquiring that knowledge was the goal of this study. We used a method that has been widely used for the assessment of injury to the gastroduodenal barrier induced by these noxious agents-measurement of gastroduodenal permeability as indicated by urinary excretion of ingested sucrose. We used gas chromatography to measure the amount of sucrose excreted in the urine over the 5-12. h after ingestion of a bolus of sucrose. The 148 participants in the study included 92 alcoholics and 56 healthy controls. All study subjects had a baseline permeability test. To determine whether addition of a second noxious agent, in addition to chronic alcohol, further decreases gastroduodenal barrier integrity, a subset of 118 study subjects participated in another permeability test in which they were exposed to aspirin. For this test, participants ingested 1,300. mg aspirin twice, 12 and 1. h before the final permeability test. The baseline permeability test showed that alcoholics have significantly higher gastroduodenal permeability than controls. Aspirin caused a significant within-group absolute increase in gastroduodenal permeability in both alcoholics and controls (+7.72%, P=003 and +2.25%, P=011, respectively), but the magnitude of these increases was not significantly different from each other. Baseline permeability did vary by gender, self-reported illegal drug use, and employment type. The extent of the permeability increase after aspirin ingestion varied with illegal drug use and recruitment site (a surrogate marker of socioeconomic status). Our data show that alcoholics have greater gastroduodenal permeability than healthy controls. This difference was independent of the duration of any preceding period of sobriety, gender, smoking history, or illicit drug abuse. The injurious effects of alcohol on the gastroduodenal epithelial barrier are long lasting, persisting even after 7 days of sobriety. Although, acute aspirin and chronic alcohol each increase intestinal permeability in alcoholics, their effects appear to be additive rather than synergistic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-456
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • Aspirin-induced gut leakiness
  • Ethanol
  • Gastroduodenal permeability
  • Intestinal injury
  • Intestinal permeability
  • Sucrose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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