In this study, the antiulcerogenic effect of a water extract obtained from the lichen species Usnea longissima was investigated using indomethacin-induced ulcer models in rats. Experimental groups consisted of six rats. Antiulcerogenic activities of 50, 100 and 200mg/kg body wt. doses of the water extract were determined by comparing the negative (treated only with indomethacin) and positive (ranitidine) control groups. Although all doses of the water extract of U. longissima showed significant antiulcerogenic activity as compared to negative control groups, the highest activity was observed with 100mg/kg body wt. doses (79.8%). The water extract of U. longissima showed moderate antioxidant activity when compared with trolox and ascorbic acids used as positive antioxidants. In addition, the activities of antioxidant enzymes [superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione S-transferase (GST)] were determined in the stomach tissues of rats and compared with those of the negative and positive control groups to expose the effects of antioxidant enzymes on antiulcerogenic activity. SOD and GST enzymes activities in indomethacin-administrated tissues were reduced significantly by indomethacin in comparison to control groups. These enzymes were activated, however, by the water extracts of U. longissima. In contrast to SOD and GST activities, CAT activity was increased by indomethacin and reduced by all doses of U. longissima and ranitidine. The present results indicate that the water extract of U. longissima has a protective effect in indomethacin-induced ulcers, which can be attributed to its antioxidant potential. (c) 2005 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.