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Dramatic diurnal variation in the concentration of the human trefoil peptide TFF2 in gastric juice


BACKGROUND TFF2, a member of the trefoil factor family of proteins, is a glycosylated protein of 106 amino acids. It is secreted by gastric antral and pyloric glands and by Brunner's glands of the duodenum. TFF2 is found in high concentrations around sites of ulceration. It stimulates cell motility and is probably the principal cytoprotective trefoil peptide in the stomach.

AIMS To determine if production of TFF2 follows a circadian rhythm and to measure changes in secretion of TFF2 in response to food intake and during sleep.

SUBJECTS Young healthy adults were recruited. They were asymptomatic and were not receiving medication. The 24 hour regimen was designed to allow normal stimulation of gastric secretion in response to food intake and sleep. Gastric juice was collected two hourly via a nasogastric tube.

METHODS Glycosylated and non-glycosylated TFF2 proteins were measured by quantitative western transfer analysis. The results were analysed statistically using SPSS software.

RESULTS There was a dramatic diurnal variation in the concentration of TFF2. The mean concentration was lowest in the early evening (0.29 μg/ml), increased gradually during the evening, and then sharply during the night to reach 7.9 μg/ml. The ratio of glycosylated to non-glycosylated TFF2 varied and was higher during the night than in the afternoon. pH, total protein, and pepsin concentrations in gastric juice did not vary significantly over 24 hours.

CONCLUSION The data suggest that diurnal variations in TFF2 secretion occur independently of pepsin and gastric acid secretion. The concentration of glycosylated TFF2 in the gastric lumen falls in response to food intake. TFF2 secretion increases during inactivity and sleep. These results suggest that secretion of TFF2 in the stomach is highest during the night and that the cytoprotective effects of TFF2 on the gastric mucosa occur mainly during sleep.

  • trefoil protein
  • human TFF2
  • gastric acid
  • diurnal
  • pepsin
  • circadian rhythm

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