In order to evaluate the incidence and aetiology of hypergastrinaemia 53 patients with seropositive rheumatoid arthritis were examined for gastric acid secretion, fasting serum gastrin concentration, circulating parietal cell antibodies, and some parameters of the activity of inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis. The basal and maximum acid output was found to be subnormal in this group (P less than 0.01), and in 11 of these patients (23%) the fasting serum gastrin levels were raised (P less than 0.05). This hypergastrinaemia correlated strongly with maximum acid output. Only in cases of achlorhydria or hypochlorhydria (maximum acid output less than 2 mmol/l) was the serum gastrin level markedly raised. Two out of 5 patients with achlorhydria were found to have circulating parietal cell antibodies, and 1 had decreased absorption of vitamin B12. No relationship was found between serum gastrin and duration or activity of rheumatoid arthritis; nor was there a relationship between basal serum gastrin and the various antirheumatic drugs administered.
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