AIMS--To identify distinguishing and general histological features related to the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). METHODS--Slides from gastric antral biopsies of 50 patients with osteoarthritis taking NSAID were compared with slides from antral biopsies of 50 control cases matched for age, sex, and race. Semithin sections stained with toluidine blue were used. RESULTS--Chronic gastritis was seen in 76% of the patients taking NSAID and in 58% of the control cases; active inflammation was detected in 10% of the NSAID treated patients and in 24% of the control cases, and it appeared closely related with Helicobacter pylori infection. Some histological features common to all slides of patients taking NSAID were recognised. These consisted of focal erosions of the gastric epithelium and macroerosions, and they seemed to represent successive steps of a process of "desquamation". CONCLUSIONS--Some distinguishing morphological aspects appeared prominent; it is suggested that these may be related to the pathogenesis of NSAID linked peptic ulceration. On the other hand, epithelial damage due to NSAID appears very different from that due to Helicobacter pylori, another important factor involved in the aetiopathogenesis of peptic disease.
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