Gut Liver.  2013 Jan;7(1):7-15.

Advent of Novel Phosphatidylcholine-Associated Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs with Improved Gastrointestinal Safety

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Dongguk University Graduate School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology, The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Houston, TX, USA.


The mucosa of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract exhibits hydrophobic, nonwettable properties that protect the underlying epithelium from gastric acid and other luminal toxins. These biophysical characteristics appear to be attributable to the presence of an extracellular lining of surfactant-like phospholipids on the luminal aspects of the mucus gel layer. Phosphatidylcholine (PC) represents the most abundant and surface-active form of gastric phospholipids. PC protected experimental rats from a number of ulcerogenic agents and/or conditions including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are chemically associated with PC. Moreover, preassociating a number of the NSAIDs with exogenous PC prevented a decrease in the hydrophobic characteristics of the mucus gel layer and protected rats against the injurious GI side effects of NSAIDs while enhancing and/or maintaining their therapeutic activity. Bile plays an important role in the ability of NSAIDs to induce small intestinal injury. NSAIDs are rapidly absorbed from the GI tract and, in many cases, undergo enterohepatic circulation. Thus, NSAIDs with extensive enterohepatic cycling are more toxic to the GI tract and are capable of attenuating the surface hydrophobic properties of the mucosa of the lower GI tract. Biliary PC plays an essential role in the detoxification of bile salt micelles. NSAIDs that are secreted into the bile injure the intestinal mucosa via their ability to chemically associate with PC, which forms toxic mixed micelles and limits the concentration of biliary PC available to interact with and detoxify bile salts. We have worked to develop a family of PC-associated NSAIDs that appear to have improved GI safety profiles with equivalent or better therapeutic efficacy in both rodent model systems and pilot clinical trials.


Phosphatidylcholines; Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents; Phospholipids; Bile
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