An ELISA test determined serologically that eight of 95 apparently healthy men (aged 19-26 years) had an asymptomatic infection with Helicobacter pylori at the time of simultaneous measurement of 24 hour intragastric acidity and 24 hour plasma gastrin concentration. There was no significant difference in the median integrated 24 hour intragastric acidity between the H. pylori positive and H. pylori negative subjects (688 and 842 mmol/h/l; p = 0.271, respectively), whereas the median integrated 24 hour plasma gastrin concentration was significantly higher in the H pylori positive than in the H pylori negative subjects (389 and 198 pmol/h/l; p less than 0.001). Longterm hypergastrinaemia, associated with persistent H pylori infection, could be a cause of the increased parietal cell mass that is considered characteristic of duodenal ulcer patients.
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