Progressive increase in the functional G cell mass with age in atrophic gastritis
Patients with atrophic gastritis but normal antral mucosa and achlorhydria were divided into three groups according to age—under 40, 40 to 70, and over 70 years. Serum gastrin, both basal and following a standard protein meal, was estimated in all patients by radioimmunoassay. There was a significant correlation between the magnitude of the gastrin response and age, the older the patient the greater the response. These results suggest that with increasing duration of gastritis and continued stimulation of a normal antrum in the absence of inhibition by acid, the functional G (gastrin) cell mass increases. However the possibility exists that each cell may secrete more gastrin in response to the same stimulus with age. This may be resolved by counting the number of G cells in the stomachs of subjects with atrophic gastritis and different ages.