Clinical studies indicate that specific cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2) inhibitors are less ulcerogenic than their non-selective predecessors (e.g. indomethacin). However, Cox-2 inhibitors may also interfere with ulcer healing. Re-epithelialization is a crucial factor in both gastrointestinal mucosal injury and ulcer healing. This study was aimed to compare the effects of selective Cox-2 inhibitor (NS398) versus non-selective Cox inhibitor (indomethacin) on basal and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) - stimulated gastric wound re-epithelialization. In-vitro epithelial wounds were created in confluent monolayers of RGM1 rat gastric epithelial cells by a razor blade scrape. Following wounding there was a significant re-epithelialization by 24 hrs. Indomethacin (0.25 mM and 0.5 mM) significantly inhibited basal wound re-epithelialization in a dose dependent manner. In contrast, selective Cox-2 inhibitor NS398 did not inhibit the basal re-epithelialization process. Basic FGF treatment produced significant enhancement of wound re-epitheliazation at the various concentrations [10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 70 ng/ml] studied. Both indomethacin and NS398 inhibited bFGF stimulated wound re-epithelialization, with indomethacin having a greater inhibitory effect. The extent of NS398 inhibition was limited to the bFGF-stimulated component, whereas indomethacin inhibition extended to both the bFGF-stimulated and the basal re-epithelialization components. These findings indicate that specific Cox-2 inhibitor (NS398) does not interfere with the basal re-epithelialization but significantly inhibits the bFGF - stimulated re-epithelialization, whereas indomethacin interferes with both the basal as well as the bFGF-stimulated wound re-epithelialization.