AIM: To investigate any protective effect of early propranolol administration in the development of portal hypertensive gastropathy in cirrhotic rats.METHODS: For the development of liver cirrhosis and portal hypertensive gastropathy, 60 rats underwent ligation of the left adrenal vein and complete devascularization of the left renal vein, followed by phenobarbital and carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) administration. After two weeks of CCl4 administration, the rats were randomly separated into two groups. In group A, propranolol was continuously administered intragastrically throughout the study, whereas in group B normal saline (placebo) was administered instead. Hemodynamic studies and vascular morphometric analysis of gastric sections were performed after complete induction of cirrhosis.RESULTS: Vascular morphometric studies showed higher numbers of vessels in all mucosal layers in the control group. Statistical analysis revealed a significantly higher total vascular surface in the control group compared to the propranolol group, but with no statistically significant difference between the mean vascular surfaces between the groups. Our study clearly shows that the increased mucosal blood flow is manifested by a marked increase of vessel count.CONCLUSION: Early propranolol’s administration in portal hypertensive cirrhotic rats seems to prevent intense gastric vascular congestion that characterizes portal hypertensive gastropathy.