Postoperative intra-abdominal adhesions are common complications after abdominal surgery. The exact molecular mechanisms that are responsible for these complications remain unclear, and there are no effective methods for preventing adhesion formation or reformation. The aim of the study reported here was to investigate the preventive effects and underlying potential molecular mechanisms of selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors in a rodent model of postoperative intra-abdominal adhesions.
The expression of COX-2 in postoperative intra-abdominal adhe-sions and normal peritoneal tissue was examined by immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis. Assays were performed to elucidate the effect of COX-2 inhibition on hypoxia-induced fibroblast activity in vitro and on intra-abdominal adhesion formation in vivo.
Hypoxia-induced COX-2 expression in peritoneal fibroblasts was increased in postoperative intra-abdominal adhesions. Inhibition of COX-2 attenuated the activating effect of hypoxia on normal peritoneal fibroblasts in vitro. Data indicate that selective COX-2 inhibitor prevents in vivo intra-abdominal adhesion by inhibition of basic fibroblast growth factor and transforming growth factor-beta expression, but not through an antiangiogenic mechanism. Furthermore, using selective COX-2 inhibitors to prevent intra-abdominal adhesions did not adversely affect the weight, bowel motility, or healing of intestinal anastomoses in a rat model.