Intracisternal injection of a stable thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) analog increases gastric prostaglandins release and mucosal resistance to injury through central vagal pathways. The effects of two nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, indomethacin (INDO) and nabumetone on intracisternal injection of various doses of TRH-induced gastric acid secretion and changes in mucosal resistance were investigated in urethane-anesthetized rats. Doses of INDO (5 mg/kg) and nabumetone (13.75 mg/kg) producing similar acute anti-inflammatory response in the carrageenin-induced paw edema were injected i.p. in all studies. INDO potentiated the acid secretion induced by intracisternal injection of TRH at 25, 50 and 200 ng by 5.1-, 1.9- and 1.4-fold, respectively, whereas nabumetone did not modify the secretory response to TRH. Moderate erosions were observed in 100% of rats treated with the combination of INDO and TRH (200 ng) whereas no erosions were observed when TRH or INDO were given alone or TRH in combination with nabumetone. TRH at 7 ng reduced mucosal damage induced by intragastric administration of ethanol (60%, 1 ml/kg) by 63%. The mucosal protective action of TRH was abolished by INDO but not altered by nabumetone pretreatment. These data indicate that at comparable anti-inflammatory doses, nabumetone, unlike INDO, neither blocks the protection against ethanol injury induced by low doses of TRH injected intracisternally nor potentiates the gastric acid secretion or lesions induced by higher dose of TRH. We speculate that these differences reflect reduced inhibition of gastric prostaglandins by nabumetone.