In view of the anomalous expression of blood group and related antigens in the gastric mucosae of patients with malignant and premalignant diseases of the stomach, and the potential clinical value of their measurement, a preliminary study has been performed on the blood group antigens A, B, H, Lea, Leb, and I(Ma) in glycoprotein rich extracts of the resting and tetragastrin stimulated gastric juice of patients without evidence of gastric cancer. The aim has been to assess whether the antigenic profiles known to distinguish the gastric mucosae of secretors from those of non-secretors are reflected in the glycoproteins of gastric juice. Antigenic profiles which distinguish secretors from non-secretors were observed in the stimulated rather than the resting gastric juice as follows: the A, B or H antigens but not I(Ma) were strongly expressed in the glycoproteins of secretors, while I(Ma) was the antigen characteristic of non-secretors. On the other hand, there was considerable overlap in the Lea and Leb antigen values in the resting and stimulated gastric juice of secretors and non-secretors. Among these antigens, I(Ma) is known to appear as a neo-antigen in the gastric mucosae of secretors with malignant and premalignant diseases of the stomach. Thus this antigenic determinant is potentially a clinically useful marker in the gastric juice of 75% of the population who are secretors. The clinical value of the levels of this antigen in the gastric juice now deserves investigation.
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