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Gastric glassy cells: a study of 3202 gastrectomy specimens from dwellers of the Atlantic and Pacific basins.

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Gatrointestinal and Liver Pathology Research Laboratory, Department of Pathology of Karolinska Institute and University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


Fifteen years ago we detected gastric cells with glassy cytoplasm (GCs) in the human pyloric antrum. The frequency of these cells was subsequently investigated in sections from gastrectomies carried on in populations dwelling on the rim of the Atlantic and Pacific basins. In this work we compared the results obtained in these disparate geographic regions. We reviewed sections from 3203 gastrectomies (1942 in the Atlantic basin and 1261 in the Pacific basin). In the Atlantic basin 12/1942 (0.6%) of the gastrectomies had GCs, whereas in the Pacific basin 26/1261 (2.1%) of the gastrectomies had GCs. The difference was significant (p<0.05). The proportion of gastrectomies with GCs was higher in patients in Vancouver, Canada, than in New York, and higher in Santiago de Chile than in Buenos Aires, despite the fact that these populations reside at approximately the same geographic latitude. Previous studies with the same material indicated that both the extension of intestinal metaplasia and the frequency of ciliated metaplasia were significantly higher in the Pacific than in the Atlantic basin. Hence, the difference in the frequencies of GCs appears to be a new indication that dissimilar environmental exposures in the two basins might have influenced the histological make-up of the gastric mucosa.

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