The role of tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) was investigated in the gastric ulcer formation induced by microvascular derangement. The rat stomach was exposed and repeated electrical stimuli (irritation) were applied on the small arterial wall close to the lesser curvature to induce mucosal ischemia followed by hyperemia. The t-PA activity in the regional blood of the stomach was significantly elevated as early as 5min after the irritation. Immunohistochemical study using anti-t-PA monoclonal antibody revealed that t-PA was detectable in the endothelial cells of capillaries and collecting venules, suggesting the involvement of endothelium-mediated fibrinolytic activity in the irritation-induced ulcer formation. Pretreatment of SOD or allopurinol significantly attenuated the irritation-induced t-PA activation, suggesting that the t-PA activity was modulated by xanthine oxidase-associated superoxide anions. CV-6209, a selective antagonist of platelet-activating factor (PAF), also prevented the activation of t-PA as well as ulcer formation, providing a concept that PAF may be associated with the local fibrinolytic activation which may cause hemorrhagic changes in the gastric mucosal microvasculature. The present study supports the hypothesis that increased t-PA activity may reflect the microvascular endothelial damages caused by vasomotor derangement and suggests that oxygen-derived free radicals may participate in the regulation of endothelium-derived fibrinolytic activities in the mucosal microvasculature.
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