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Yale J Biol Med. 1998 May-Aug;71(3-4):325-35.

Relationship of ECL cells and gastric neoplasia.

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Department of Medicine, University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway.


The enterochromaffin-like (ECL) cell in the oxyntic mucosa has a key role in the regulation of gastric secretion since it synthesizes and releases the histamine regulating the acid secretion from the parietal cell. Gastrin is the main regulator of the ECL cell function and growth. Long-term hypergastrinemia induces ECL cell hyperplasia, and if continued, neoplasia. ECL cell carcinoids occur in man after long-term hypergastrinemia in conditions like pernicious anemia and gastrinoma. There is also accumulating evidence that a proportion of gastric carcinomas of the diffuse type is derived from the ECL cell. Furthermore, the ECL cell may, by producing substances with angiogenic effects (histamine and basic fibroblast growth factor), be particularly prone to develop malignant tumors. Although the general opinion is that gastrin itself has a direct effect on the oxyntic mucosal stem cell, it cannot be excluded that the general trophic effect of gastrin on the oxyntic mucosa is mediated by histamine or other substances from the ECL cell, and that the ECL cell, therefore, could play a role also in the tumorigenesis/carcinogenesis of gastric carcinomas of intestinal type.

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