Long-term omeprazole treatment in man: effects on gastric endocrine cell populations

Digestion. 1988;39(2):126-35. doi: 10.1159/000199615.


36 patients with chronic gastric or oesophageal peptic ulceration (including 6 with antrectomy), resistant to high-dose ranitidine treatment for at least 3 months, were successfully treated with 40-60 mg of omeprazole daily for periods between 1 and 2 years. Fasting serum gastrin levels were monitored at regular intervals during therapy and multiple gastric mucosal biopsies were taken during gastroscopy every 3-6 months. Gastrin levels increased significantly during the first 6 months of therapy from a medium level of 81.5 to 206 pg/ml, a slight decrease was seen thereafter. In 10 patients investigated before the start of the treatment and after 1 and 2 years, the volume density of argyrophilic cells in the oxyntic mucosa increased from 0.43 +/- 0.08 to 0.91 +/- 0.14% during the first year; this change was statistically significant. No further increase was observed thereafter. No such difference could be demonstrated between a larger group of 18 patients investigated before and after 1 year of treatment with omeprazole (0.806 +/- 0.1 vs. 0.93 +/- 0.08%) and between a larger group of 22 untreated patients and 17 patients treated for 17-24 months with omeprazole (0.73 +/- 0.1 vs. 0.86 +/- 0.09%). The volume density of argyrophilic cells found in 8 patients with gastrinoma amounted to 1.37 +/- 0.22%. No clusters of endocrine cells were found in omeprazole-treated patients. The D cell volume density in the antral mucosa decreased significantly during the first months of treatment, but steadily increased thereafter to reach pretreatment values after 17 months. There was no change in G cell volume density under therapy. No changes in gastrin levels or oxyntic argyrophilic cells were observed in the antrectomized patients. It is concluded that the hyperplasia of argyrophilic cells observed in some patients during long-term omeprazole treatment is mediated by hypergastrinaemia.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Gastric Mucosa / cytology*
  • Gastric Mucosa / drug effects
  • Gastrins / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Omeprazole / therapeutic use*
  • Parietal Cells, Gastric / drug effects
  • Peptic Ulcer / drug therapy
  • Ranitidine / therapeutic use*
  • Stomach Ulcer / drug therapy
  • Time Factors


  • Gastrins
  • Ranitidine
  • Omeprazole