Gastric body mucosal proliferation was quantified and localised under conditions of increased gastrin drive using a variety of techniques. Rats were given omeprazole 400 mumol/kg/day by gavage and after 30 days mean serum gastrin rose 11-fold (p < 0.001). Total mucosal polyamines rose 220% from 15.9 to 50.9 nmol/mg protein (p < 0.001). This was associated with a 238% increase in crypt cell production rate from 0.541 to 1.83 crypt cells/h by vincristine metaphase arrest (p < 0.02). Using computer aided counting of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) immunostained nuclei to assess epithelial proliferation in hypergastrinaemia rat stomach: mucus neck cell PCNA labelling was increased by 41% (p < 0.001) and gland cell PCNA labelling was increased by 222% (p < 0.001). PCNA/AgNOR (argyrophilic nuclear organiser regions) co-stained sections were used to assess proliferative activity in cycling and non-cycling cell populations. Data from these experiments suggest that, in addition to increasing the number of mucosal cells in cycle, cell life and cell cycle duration may be reduced in hypergastrinaemia.
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