Lower oesophageal sphincter response to infusion of graded doses (0.003--0.050 microgram kg-1min-1) of pentagastrin was evaluated in four antrectomised patients as well as in six healthy subjects and seven achalasic patients in whom inhibition of antral gastrin release was maintained by continuous acidification (HC1 0.1 N) and aspiration of gastric antrum. In normal subjects and in antrectomised patients doses of pentagastrin required for half-maximal gastric acid secretion (0.012 microgram kg-1min-1) produced statistically significant increases of LES pressure. In achalasic patients, the infusion of pentagastrin did not affect LES pressure. These data seem to indicate that gastrin plays, at least in some degree, a physiological role in the regulation of LES tone. Insensitivity of LES to pentagastrin in achalasia suggests that the raised sphincter pressure in this disorder can not be attributed to gastrin.
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