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Mucosal argyrophil endocrine cells in pernicious anaemia and upper gastrointestinal carcinoid tumours.
  1. S M Sjöblom,
  2. P Sipponen,
  3. S L Karonen,
  4. H J Järvinen
  1. Second Department of Surgery, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland.


    The number and density of argyrophil endocrine cells were morphometrically calculated in gastric fundal mucosal biopsy specimens taken from 64 patients with pernicious anaemia (five with gastric carcinoids, 15 with nodular argyrophil cell hyperplasia, 44 with diffuse argyrophil cell hyperplasia) and from 14 healthy controls. Similar calculations were also made on the ileal mucosa away from the tumour of 10 patients with ileal carcinoids and 10 controls. In the stomach, the argyrophil cell counts were twice as high in the patients with pernicious anaemia than in controls and the densities in the whole mucosa or in the epithelial structures were similarly three to five times higher. The cell counts in the patients showed positive correlation with the serum gastrin concentration. The patients with nodular argyrophil cell hyperplasia and gastric carcinoids formed a uniform group with the highest cell counts and serum gastrin concentrations; the difference between the groups was in the longer duration of pernicious anaemia in the patients with carcinoid tumours. On the other hand, no endocrine cell hyperplasia was seen in those with ileal carcinoids. It is concluded that fundal mucosal endocrine cells show an increase in patients with pernicious anaemia that is related to the gastrin concentration. This phenomenon may favour the development of hyperplastic endocrine cell nodules and, eventually, carcinoid tumours.

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