Journal of physiology and pharmacology : an official journal of the Polish Physiological Society

Serum gastrin and gastric enterochromaffin-like cells during estrous cycle, pregnancy and lactation, and in response to estrogen-like agents in rats.

PMID 21893694


Histamine-containing enterochromaffin-like (ECL) cells are numerous in the gastric mucosa. They operate under the control of gastrin. ECL-cell tumors (gastric carcinoids) may arise as a consequence of sustained hypergastrinemia. For reasons unknown, such tumors have a female preponderance both in laboratory animals and humans. The present study consisted of four experiments exploring the possibility that gender-related factors might affect rat ECL cells. 1) A gender difference in terms of serum gastrin concentration and oxyntic mucosal histidine decarboxylase (HDC) activity appeared in Sprague-Dawley but not Wistar rats. Ultrastructural appearance of the ECL cells did not differ between genders. 2) During the different phases of the estrous cycle, the serum gastrin concentration, HDC activity and histamine concentration did not change. 3) During pregnancy, the serum gastrin concentration was suppressed, while it was increased during lactation. The HDC activity and the histamine concentration of the oxyntic mucosa were correlated with the levels of circulating gastrin. 4) Twelve-month treatment with estrogen-like agents, dieldrin and/or toxaphene (alone or in combination) was without any effect on the ECL cells neither in male nor in female rats. In conclusion, the ECL cells are under the control of gastrin, but probably not hormones that involve in the estrous cycle and pregnancy and lactation in rats. Possible gender-related factors behind the female preponderance of ECL-cell tumors remain unknown.

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