An interesting study on the comparison between tocotrienol and omeprazole (a common medication used to reduce the amount of acid in stomach, and in the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease and peptic ulcer disease) on gastric growth factors in stress-exposed rats was recently published.
Twenty-eight rats were randomly assigned to four groups; two control groups and two treatment groups. For 28 days, both control groups (stress-exposed and no-stress exposed) were given vitamin-free palm oil while two treatment group were pre-treated with 60 mg/kg tocotrienol (ExcelVite’s EVNol™) and 20 mg/kg omeprazole respectively. One control group and both treated group were then exposed to water-immersion restraint stress (WIRS) for 3.5 hours. At the end of the study, the mRNA expression level of growth factors; vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-α) were measured from the gastric lesions and gastric tissue. All these four gastric growth factors have different effects and roles in reconstruction of damaged mucosal structure.
A decrease in expression level of three growth factors; VEGF, bFGF and TGF-α were displayed in stress-exposed control group. However, tocotrieonol pre-treated group showed up-regulated expression of these growth factors, thus bringing the expression level equivalent to those in no-stress condition or no-stress control group. Group pre-treated with omeprazole meanwhile did not show rise of the growth factors as significant as tocotrienol’s.
On the contrary, the stress-exposed control group exhibited an increase in EGF expression but both groups pre-treated with tocotrienol and omeprazole correspondingly showed no significant result in reducing the EGF expression level in stress-exposed rats.
Prior to the above finding, the researchers from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia concluded the ability of tocotrienol in regulating these growth factors (VEGF, bFGF and TGF-α) in a stress-induced ulcer-model where tocotrienol could enhance the repair of gastric mucosa against injury, henceforth deserve further study, especially human clinical trial.
“I believe that we all agree that peptic ulcer / gastric ulcer is a common issue, especially among middle-age adults. If preventive action is not being taken, it can become more serious problem. One of the simple preventive ways is to ensure healthy mucosa and the role of gastric growth factors during process of ulcer repair is important,” says Diyanah Roslan, Nutritionist at ExcelVite.