Gastric cytoprotection 30 years after its discovery by André Robert: A personal perspective

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It is generally accepted that the development of gastric mucosal injury and protection is a consequence of an imbalance between the existing aggressive and defensive factors in the gastric mucosa. The excess secretion of gastric acid and increased production of pepsin have been considered as the main etiological factors in the development of peptic ulcer diseases in humans. André Robert and his coworkers (Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA) identified a new pathway for the gastric mucosal protection against the gastric mucosal damage injury (e.g. from HCl, NaOH, NaCl, ethanol, or thermal injury) by small doses of prostaglandins (1-5 μg/kg given ig or sc), without presence of any gastric acid secretory properties in rats. This phenomenon was termed "gastric cytoprotection" (1979). The results of this basic research offered a lot of new possibilities to test this hypothesis in different experimental models under different experimental conditions, in both human healthy subjects as well as in patients with various gastrointestinal disorders (acute and chronic gastrointestinal inflammatory conditions in the stomach and intestines, as well as GI precancerous states, i.e., oesophageal, stomach, pancreatic, liver and colon cancers). An international symposium on "gastric cytoprotection: 30 years after André Robert's concept" was organized at Split (Croatia) on September 13, 2009, at which invited experts from China, Croatia, Italy, Japan, Poland, and USA gave presentations and discussed the studies performed in the field of cytoprotection between 1979 and 2009. This paper provides a short critical summary of this meeting in the context of an "official historic background" of the events underlying the discovery of "gastric cytoprotection" which originated from the pioneering work of André Robert.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-221
Number of pages13
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010



  • Animal experiments
  • Cytoprotection
  • Gastroprotection
  • Human observations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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