In 10 healthy subjects and 25 duodenal ulcer patients, gastric acid and pepsin and serum gastrin responses to cephalic-vagal stimulation induced by modified sham-feeding (MSF) were studied before and after vagotomy and atropinisation and compared with those to maximal stimulation with pentagastrin. When the MSF-induced peak acid output was normalised as a percentage of peak response to pentagastrin it was about 62% in healthy subjects and 66% in duodenal ulcer patients. Serum gastrin concentration was not changed significantly by modified sham-feeding either in normal subjects or in duodenal ulcer patients. Truncal vagotomy completely abolished gastric acid and pepsin responses to MSF in duodenal ulcer patients. Atropine almost completely suppressed gastric acid and pepsin responses to MSF in healthy subjects and reduced those in duodenal ulcer patients by about 62%. The combination of the modified sham-feeding and pentagastrin infusion resulted in augmentation of the acid output in duodenal ulcer patients but not in healthy subjects. This study shows that the cephalic phase results in a potent gastric acid and pepsin stimulation which is not accompanied by any change in serum gastrin concentration either in healthy subjects or duodenal ulcer patients and which is abolished by vagotomy and suppressed by atropine.
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