Background: The pathogenesis of gastroduodenal ulceration has been investigated mostly from the point of view of aggressive factors; the therapeutic interventions affected the healing process only indirectly. With the discovery of the potent healing capacity of growth factors, direct treatment of ulcers is now possible regardless of HCl and pepsin secretion. We review our recent data on how growth factors (e.g., bFGF, PDGF in comparison with EGF) can promote ulcer healing. Results: Treatment of rats with bFGF, PDGF accelerated the healing of experimental chronic duodenal and gastric ulcers without suppressing gastric acid secretion and resulted in superior quality of ulcers healed. We also detected additive or synergistic action between bFGF and cimetidine or bFGF and sucralfate in the healing of chemically induced chronic duodenal ulcers and chronic erosive gastritis. Conclusions: We conclude that growth factors such as bFGF, PDGF can promote ulcer healing without the need to neutralize gastric secretion and may lead to a direct and efficient therapeutic regime.
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