Serum-gastrin levels and gastric-acid secretion in infants

Becker, M.; Fritsch, W.P.; Hausamen, T.U.; Rotthauwe, H.W.

Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift 101(49): 1800-1805


ISSN/ISBN: 0012-0472
PMID: 11982
DOI: 10.1055/s-0028-1104342
Accession: 068517925

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Gastric acid secretion was measured in 20 infants aged 6-438 days. The values for the basal acid output and that after stimulation with 6 mug/kg pentagastrin subcutaneously were found to be related to age, body weight and body surface area. But these correlations were not comparable to those in adults. Standard values for different age groups in childhood must therefore be established. Furthermore, the results indicate parietal-cell immaturity during the first six months of life. Measurement of fasting serum-gastrin concentration by radioimmunoassay in 74 infants, aged 1-438 days, and 154 adults as controls revealed a high serum-gastrin level in infants, with an exponential decrease during the first year of life. Despite comparable pH values in gastric juice at one year of life, the gastrin concentrations were higher than those in adults (at a statistically significant level). On the other hand, normal serum-gastrin concentrations were found in ten pregnant women just before delivery. The results suggest a negative feed-back mechanism between gastric-acid secretion and fasting serum-gastrin levels, but such mechanism probably being limited by extragastric gastrin secretion.