Basal circulating levels of gastrin, somatostatin, and pancreatic polypeptide were measured in 30 chronic haemodialysis patients. Five patients had considerably raised serum gastrin (greater than 400 pmol/1) and also gastric achlorhydria while 75% of the patients who had normal (less than 55 pmol/1) or moderately increased (less than 400 pmol/1) serum gastrin had raised maximal acid outputs. Patients with serum gastrin greater than 400 pmol/1 had significantly lower plasma concentrations of somatostatin compared with both healthy individuals and uaremic patients with normal gastrin levels. Raised serum concentrations of pancreatic polypeptide were observed in the majority of the patients but no correlation was found between this peptide and gastric acid secretion or circulating levels of gastrin and somatostatin, respectively. Prolonged circulation time for gastrin and pancreatic polypeptide was demonstrated after food stimulation. Prolonged gastrin stimulation of the parietal cell mass may lead to work hypertrophy and gastric acid hypersecretion. Whether long-standing over-stimulation by gastrin also may induce atrophy of the cells remains to be studied.
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