British journal of pharmacology

Lack of effects of acemetacin on signalling pathways for leukocyte adherence may explain its gastrointestinal safety.

PMID 18695646


Acemetacin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug which is rapidly bioconverted to indomethacin, but produces significantly less gastric damage than indomethacin. This study was performed to investigate several possible mechanisms that could account for the gastrointestinal tolerability of acemetacin. The gastric and intestinal damaging effects of acemetacin and indomethacin were examined in the rat. Effects of the drugs on blood levels of leukotriene B(4) and thromboxane B(2), on leukocyte-endothelial adherence in post-capillary mesenteric venules, and on gastric expression of tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) were determined. The two drugs were also compared for gastric toxicity in rats pretreated with inhibitors of COX-2 and NOS. Acemetacin induced significantly less gastric and intestinal damage than indomethacin, despite markedly suppressing COX activity. Indomethacin, but not acemetacin, significantly increased leukocyte adherence within mesenteric venules, and gastric expression of TNF-alpha. Pretreatment with L-nitro-arginine methyl ester or lumiracoxib increased the severity of indomethacin-induced gastric damage, but this was not the case with acemetacin. The increased gastric and intestinal tolerability of acemetacin may be related to the lack of induction of leukocyte-endothelial adherence. This may be attributable to the reduced ability of acemetacin to elevate leukotriene-B(4) synthesis and TNF-alpha expression, compared to indomethacin, despite the fact that acemetacin is rapidly bioconverted to indomethacin after its absorption.

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Acemetacin, analytical standard