Background: It has recently been recognized that Helicobacter pylori infection is associated with abnormalities in the regulation of gastrin secretion. We investigated whether there was a relationship between H. pylori infection and G-cell and D-cell numbers.
Methods: The numbers of antral G cells and D cells were compared between 20 patients with duodenal ulcer and 24 volunteers, 12 with and 12 without H. pylori infection. The effect of eradication of H. pylori infection on G-cell number was also evaluated. Antral mucosal biopsy specimens were examined using immunohistochemical techniques specific for the presence of gastrin and somatostatin.
Results: The number of G cells was significantly (P < 0.02) less in patients with duodenal ulcer than in either infected or uninfected controls (3.7 +/- 0.3 vs. 6.2 +/- 0.6 and 5.3 +/- 0.5 G cells per gland for infected and uninfected controls, respectively). The ratio of G-cells to D-cells was similar in duodenal ulcer patients (2.2) and uninfected controls (2.0). It was found that, although eradication of the H. pylori infection results in a dramatic reduction in stimulated gastrin secretion, it is not associated with a change in the numbers of antral G cells or D cells in patients with duodenal ulcer.
Conclusions: It is concluded that H. pylori infection-associated increase in gastrin secretion appear to be related to local factors regulating G-cell function.