Integrated postprandial serum gastrin levels were studied in a prospective series of 144 Chinese patients with duodenal ulcer in relation to sex, total body weight, age of onset and duration of ulcer symptoms, blood group status, and positivity for familial dyspepsia. Postprandial gastrin was unrelated to sex, total body weight, duration of symptoms, and blood group status. Patients whose onset age was in the first two decades (early onset group) had significantly higher postprandial gastrin than those with onset age in the 4th and 6th decades (P less than 0.01). This was found to be associated with the presence in the early onset group (n = 35) of a high proportion of patients with positive family history of ulcer dyspepsia (n = 24), in whom postprandial gastrin was significantly higher than those without such history (P less than 0.01). These results suggest that early onset patients who are positive for family history of ulcer dyspepsia segregate to form one subgroup of duodenal ulcer. They also offer a clue that familial hypergastrinaemia may be one marker for familial duodenal ulcer.
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