The purpose of this investigation was to study cell proliferation kinetics in human gastric mucosa. Biopsies were taken from the antral and fundic part of the stomach through a fibre-gastroscope and incubated in culture medium containing a DNA-precursor (3-H-thymidine). Autoradiographs were prepared by the dipping technique. The number of labelled cells and the total number of cells in all cross sections of foveolae containing one or more labelled cells were counted. The labelling index (LI), which is defined as the percentage of labelled cells in the progenitor cell region, was estimated. When only cross sections with labelled cells are taken into consideration, the labelling index will be a little overestimated. In order to reduce this error a formula for correction was worked out. Thirty-six patients with different gastric diseases were studied. The observer error was minimal, and the results were highly reproducible. It was not possible to demonstrate any correlation between the labelling indices in antral and fundic mucosa. A significantly increased epithelial proliferation was found in fundic mucosa from patients with gastric cancer and atrophic gastritis.
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