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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 708156, 8 pages
Research Article

Morphologic and Pharmacological Investigations in the Epicatechin Gastroprotective Effect

1Morphology Department, Biosciences Institute, UNESP-University Estadual Paulista, P.O. Box 510, 18618-970 Botucatu, SP, Brazil
2Physiology Department, Biosciences Institute, UNESP-University Estadual Paulista, 18618-970 Botucatu, SP, Brazil

Received 26 January 2012; Accepted 29 February 2012

Academic Editor: José Luis Ríos

Copyright © 2012 A. L. Rozza et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Previous studies of the gastroprotective activity of plants have highlighted the importance of the polyphenolic compound epicatechin (EC) in the treatment of gastric ulcers. This paper aimed to evaluate and characterize the gastroprotective mechanism of action of EC using male rats. The gastroprotective action of EC was analyzed in gastric ulcers induced by ethanol or indomethacin. The involvement of sulfhydryl (SH) groups, channels, adrenoceptors, gastric antisecretory activity, and the amount of mucus in the development of gastric ulcers were investigated. The lowest effective dose of EC providing gastroprotective effects was 50 mg/kg in the ethanol-induced gastric ulcers and 25 mg/kg in the indomethacin-induced gastric ulcers. The gastroprotection seen upon treatment with EC was significantly decreased in rats pretreated with a SH compound reagent or an -receptor antagonist, but not with a channel blocker. Furthermore, oral treatment with EC increased mucus production and decreased H+ secretion. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated the involvement of superoxide dismutase (SOD), nitric oxide (NO), and heat shock protein-70 (HSP-70) in the gastroprotection. These results demonstrate that EC provides gastroprotection through reinforcement of the mucus barrier and neutralization of gastric juice and this protection occurs through the involvement of SH compounds, -adrenoceptors, NO, SOD, and HSP-70.