Serum gastrin concentration was measured in newborns and infants with no gastrointestinal disorders, in the fasting state and after food stimulation. Mean fasting concentration in 14 newborns aged 1 to 12 days (130 . 4 pg/ml +/- 11 . 4 SE) was significantly higher than the mean value in 23 infants aged 1.5 to 22 months (101.4 +/- 6.6 pg/ml). Ingestion of the usual milk meal resulted in a definite rise of the serum gastrin level in the 5 subjects tested (3 newborns and 2 infants). The mean fasting serum gastrin level in 6 babies with hiatus hernia and gastro-oesophageal reflux was found to be no different from the corresponding value in 8 age-matched controls. However, a conspicuously raised fasting gastrin concentration was observed in one infant with lower oesophageal dyskinesia. The results indicate that the release of gastrin and the reactivity of the hormone-producing sites to food stimulation in early life are similar to those in adult humans. No defect of gastrin release was shown in patients with gastro-oesophageal reflux.
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