Gastric secretion and fasting plasma gastrin levels were investigated in 26 patients with bilharzial hepatic fibrosis and 26 controls. The groups did not differ in their basal secretion. When stimulated by intravenous infusion of histamine the maximal acid output in patients with bilharzial hepatic fibrosis was significantly less than in the control group. This was unlikely to be a result of neutralisation by reflux of alkaline duodenal contents as the volumes of reflux were not different from control subjects, but was compatible with a true reduction in gastric secretion as assessed by two-component hypothesis. Neither the lowered gastric acidity nor the liver damage in patients with bilharzial hepatic fibrosis correlated with circulating gastrin. The fasting levels of plasma gastrin in these patients were not different from controls. As in other liver diseases the cause of diminished gastric secretion remains unclear.
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