The mean antral immunoreactive gastrin (IRG) concentration of 38 duodenal ulcer (DU) patients was significantly higher (35-9+/-5-2 mug/g) than that of 21 controls (15-9+/-2-6 mug/g). Also the mean IRG concentration in the proximal duodenal mucosa of 15 DU patients (3-2+/-0-8 mug/g) was higher (but not significantly) than that of 10 controls (1-8+/-0-5 mug/g). The number of G-cells in the antral mucosa of 58 DU patients and in the duodenal mucosa of 29 DU patients was not larger than that of controls. The distribution of immunoreactivity in gastrin components has been investigated in the antral and duodenal mucosa of six DU patients and six controls. In the antral mucosa the mean percentage of G-17 was 93-3% in DU patients and 92-0% in controls. G-34 amounted to 4-0% in DU patients and to 5-0% in controls. The G-34 percentage in the duodenal mucosa was higher (however not significantly) in the DU patients than in the controls (50-1% versus 35-8%). Ultrastructurally, the antral G-cells of DU patients had a significantly lower density index of their secretory granules suggesting higher functional activity. It is concluded that the exaggerated serum IRG response of DU patients to different stimuli is not a consequence of an increased G-cell mass.
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