Background/Aims. Hypergastrinaemia has been reported in liver cirrhosis; meanwhile, it is unclear whether it is associated with an increase in gastrin cell function. The serum gastrin concentration and the number of gastrin cells in antral biopsies were studied in patients with alcoholic liver disease. Methods. Immunocytochemical and quantification techniques were used to localize and determine the number of gastrin cells. Results. Slight non-significantly higher serum gastrin values were observed in the alcoholic liver disease patients compared with controls, but the individual variation within the groups was considerable. The frequency of gastrin cells did not differ between groups. However, the size of the gastrin cell nuclei was larger in patients with liver disease than in controls, indicating increased cellular activity. Conclusions. Alcoholic liver disease, with a disturbed liver function, influences the gastrin cells. The observed alterations may reflect the effect of alcohol and/or malnutrition, or may be secondary to the influence of liver disease on other regulatory peptides.
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