The abnormal composition of the fatty acids in gastric mucosal phospholipids was examined in 11 patients with non-alcoholic liver cirrhosis accompanied by gastritis and in 10 healthy subjects without liver disease and gastritis. The cases positive for serum anti-Helicobacter pylori immunoglobulin G antibody were excluded.

The arachidonic acid (AA, C20:4n-6) contents of the two main components of phospholipid, the phosphatidylcholine (PC) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) fractions, in gastric biopsy specimens were significantly lower in the cirrhosis group, although PC and PE contents in gastric biopsy specimens were not altered. In the cirrhosis group, AA contents of the PC fractions in gastric biopsy specimens were significantly correlated with AA contents of plasma PC fractions and serum albumin levels.

Soft oil capsules containing polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) such as AA, eicosapentanoic acid (EPA, C20:5n-3) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA, C20:6n-3) were administered after each meal daily for 4 weeks to six cirrhotic patients and four control subjects, who were randomly selected from the patients and control subjects.

After administration of PUFA-enriched oil capsules, gastric mucosal AA contents of PC and PE fractions were significantly improved almost to the control levels. In three cirrhotic patients with severe or mild gastritis whose gastric mucosal lesions were endoscopically shown to have responded to PUFA-enriched oil capsules, AA contents of plasma PC and PE fractions before administration were much lower than in the remaining three cirrhotics that did not respond to the PUFA-enriched oil capsules, but significantly improved to the control levels after administration of oil capsules.

The results demonstrate that administration of PUFA-enriched soft oil capsules increased AA contents of the phospholipids in gastric mucosa and thus improved gastric mucosal lesions endoscopically in cirrhotic patients with gastritis.