The serum gastrin response to a standard protein meal has been determined in achlorhydric patients with atrophic gastritis and contrasted with the response in normal subjects whose gastric contents were kept continuously neutral by intragastric bicarbonate instillation.
Five normal subjects showed a significant increase in serum gastrin from a mean (± SEM) of 17 ± 3 pg/ml to 119 ± 10 pg/ml but their response did not approach that of four patients with atrophic gastritis and antral sparing (605 ± 133 pg/ml to 1418 ± 186 pg/ml). By contrast, in four patients with antral gastritis, there was no significant change in gastrin levels (24 ± 13 pg/ml to 55 ± 19 pg/ml).
These studies indicate that the gastrin-secreting cell mass is increased in atrophic gastritis with antral sparing and decreased in atrophic gastritis with antral involvement, as compared to the normal state. They provide further evidence for the existence in man of two distinct forms of atrophic gastritis.
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