Activation and hyperplasia of gastrin and enterochromaffin-like cells in the stomach.Digestion. 1986; 35 Suppl 1:23-41.D
The stomach is rich in endocrine cells, most of which are still unidentified with respect to the peptide hormones they produce. The endocrine cell populations in the antrum usually differ from those in the oxyntic mucosa. Gastrin cells are found in the antrum and respond readily to stimuli from the gastric lumen, such as changes in the pH and the presence of food. In order to study the functional control of the antral gastrin cell, rats were subjected to different kinds of surgery. The serum gastrin concentrations in the various experimental groups were measured 8-10 weeks after the operations. Elevated antral pH raised the serum gastrin concentration. The combination of elevated antral pH and the passage of food over the pyloric glands produced gastrin cell hyperplasia. The operation that was most effective in inducing gastrin cell hyperplasia was removal of the acid-producing part of the stomach. Interestingly, gastrin cell hyperplasia was seen also after bilateral truncal vagotomy, indicating that an intact vagal innervation is not essential for the development of gastrin cell hyperplasia. Enterochromaffin-like (ECL) cells are endocrine/paracrine cells that are numerous in the acid-producing part of the stomach in many species. In the rat, they occur predominantly in the basal half of the oxyntic mucosa and produce and store histamine. The ECL cells have an unknown function and do not seem to respond to stimuli from the gastric lumen. They are activated by circulating gastrin and by vagal excitation. Gastrin mobilises histamine from these cells and activates the histamine-forming enzyme, histidine decarboxylase. Long-term hypergastrinaemia produces diffuse ECL cell hyperplasia, whereas hypogastrinaemia (following removal of the endogenous stores of gastrin by antrectomy) reduces the ECL cell number. Portacaval shunt brings about a marked increase in the number of ECL cells through an unknown mechanism. Also neuronal stimuli are important for the trophic control of the ECL cells. Studies of unilaterally vagotomised rats showed reduced weight and thickness of the oxyntic mucosa as well as a markedly reduced number of ECL cells on the denervated side. Gastric carcinoids in man are rare tumours predominantly made up of ECL cells. The incidence of such tumours is increased in patients with hypergastrinaemia (pernicious anaemia, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome). A diffuse ECL cell hyperplasia is a common finding in such patients, which is in keeping with the known gastrin sensitivity of the normal ECL cell in the rat.