Background and Aims: Considering the lack of knowledge regarding the influence of the variable number of repeats of 27 pb in intron 4 (4b/4a VNTR - rs61722009) of the endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) on the drug response, we assessed the influence of this polymorphism for the risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB).

Methods: A case-control study, including 200 cases and 706 controls, was conducted in a Brazilian hospital complex. Cases were participants with UGIB diagnosis. Controls were participants admitted to surgical procedures not related to gastrointestinal problems. The 4b/4a VNTR was determined through polymerase chain reaction followed by fragment analysis. Conditional logistic regression models were designed. The additive interaction between the presence of the 4b/4a VNTR variant and the use of low-dose aspirin (LDA) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) was calculated by fitting the Cox regression model through the parameters of Synergism index (S) and Relative Excess Risk Due To Interaction (RERI).

Results: The presence of the 4b/4a VNTR variant did not increase the risk of UGIB: carriers of the 4a/4a genotype (OR=0.37, 95%CI: 0.09-1.45) and of the variant allele “4a” (OR=0.91, 95%CI: 0.55-1.51). The risk of UGIB in LDA users carriers of the wild genotype (OR=4.96, 95%CI: 2.04- 2.06) and the variant allele “4a” (OR=3.49, 95%CI: 1.18-10.38) is similar, as well as for NSAID users carriers of the wild genotype (OR=5.73, 95%CI: 2.61-12.60) and variant allele “4a” (OR=5.51, 95%CI: 1.42-15.82). No additive interaction was identified between the presence of the genetic variant and the use of LDA [RERI: -1.44 (95%CI: -6.02–3.14; S: 0.63 (95%CI: -1.97–1.15)] and NSAIDs [RERI: -0.13 (95%CI: -6.79–6.53; S: 0.97 (95%CI: -0.23–4.19)] on the UGIB risk.

Conclusion: Our data suggests that there is no increase in the magnitude of UGIB risk in LDA and NSAIDs users’ carrying the variant allele “4a”.


gastrointestinal bleeding, UGIB, peptic ulcer hemorrhage, aspirin, nonsteroidal anti- inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs, VNTR Sequences, tandem repeat sequences