September 1974

Starvation, Glucose, and Stress Ulcers in the Rat

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Surgery, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC, and Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tenn.

Arch Surg. 1974;109(3):416-419. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1974.01360030068018

Stress ulcers frequently occur in posttraumatic or septic patients who may have inadequate caloric intake. This problem was evaluated by studying the response to restraint stress of rats that were starved or had 1.0, 2.5, or 5.0 gm/100 ml glucose as their drinking solution for four days. Control rats had a caloric intake of 39 calories per day while rats drinking 5 gm/100 ml glucose had 13 calories per day. When starved rats were analyzed against control rats, the starved rats had a substantial increase in restraint-induced gastric lesions. This increase did not occur in rats drinking 5 gm/100 ml glucose, but did occur in those drinking 1.0 or 2.5 gm/100 ml glucose. Weight loss, hypernatremia, and arterial blood pressure were factors that were different in starved rats and rats fed 5 gm/100 ml glucose. These studies suggest that a critically low glucose or caloric intake may account in part for gastric lesions in the stressed patient.