Scanning Microscopy


Scanning electron microscopy was utilised to study the effect of absolute alcohol on the normal morphology of the rat stomach, together with the gastroprotective actions of colloidal bismuth subcitrate. Studies on normal gastric morphology revealed that the major portion of the stomach was covered by a protective coating of mucus. However, there was considerable variation in the integrity of the mucosal surface of the control animals, with the loss of surface epithelial cells in some regions which may account for the variation in response to necrotising agents. The long-term administration of the gastrocytoprotective agent colloidal bismuth subcitrate resulted in a marked improvement in normal gastric integrity, compared with control tissue samples. The administration of absolute alcohol was associated with an excessive production of mucus and caused extensive damage to the gastric mucosa of control animals, resulting in destruction of the surface epithelial cells and exposure of the reticular framework. However, there was evidence that repair of this damage was underway by four hours after ethanol treatment, with a significant degree of recovery from damage occurring by 24 hours after treatment. In contrast, treatment with colloidal bismuth subcitrate prior to the administration of alcohol resulted in a significant reduction in the degree of damage induced by alcohol administration, suggesting that colloidal bismuth subcitrate has the ability to protect the stomach from the erosive action of alcohol.

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