Temporal changes in gastric antibody response were investigated in 113 (51 men, 62 women) patients with confirmed pernicious anaemia. Their ages ranged from 31-92 years (mean (SD 13.2) 66). At diagnosis, parietal cell antibody and intrinsic factor antibody were detected in 90.9% and 39.1% of all patients, respectively. When the tests were repeated after a mean follow up of 70 months (range 14-137), parietal cell antibody and intrinsic factor antibody were positive in 82.8% and 58.7%, respectively. There was a definite but not significant trend for the organ specific parietal cell antibody to disappear; intrinsic factor antibody became more positive. These results may indicate that with progressive parietal cell destruction, the antigen is no longer available to sustain an immunological response. On the other hand, this hypothesis does not explain the increased prevalence of intrinsic factor antibody which is also a product of parietal cells.
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