The possible presence of parietal cell stimulating antibodies was examined in sera from 57 patients with relapsing ulcer disease. The sera were obtained at the time of symptomatic relapse and all patients had ulcers confirmed by endoscopy. A sensitive assay based on adenosine 3':5' cyclic monophosphate (cAMP) production in isolated porcine gastric mucosal cells was used as a measure. cAMP production increased up to four hours of incubation and was histamine responsive; an approximately 20-fold increase was found with histamine 10(-4) mol/l. Sera from both patients and healthy control subjects showed some inhibitory effect on basal cAMP production compared with incubation in medium only, whereas immunoglobulin preparations had a weaker non-specific effect. No stimulation was found when the patients' sera and immunoglobulins (up to a concentration of 6 mg/ml) were examined. These results suggest that gastric acid hypersecretion in duodenal ulcer disease is not an effect of histamine receptor stimulating antibodies. The data thus argue against a recent hypothesis that severe chronic ulcer disease in some patients has an autoimmune origin.
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