Gastric delta cells (D-cells), which are somatostatin-secreting cells, are the main paracrine inhibitor of acid secretion. The number of D-cells was studied in children presenting with upper gastrointestinal (UGI) disease.
We retrospectively investigated the number of D-cells in the gastric body and antrum through immunofluorescence examinations according to symptoms, endoscopic findings, and infection in 75 children who visited Hanyang University Hospital Pediatrics.
The mean patient age was 12.2±3.3 years. The male-to-female ratio was 1:1.4. The mean D-cell number per high-power field in the antrum and body was 20.5 and 12 in children with substernal pain, 18.3 and 10.3 in vomiting, 22.3 and 6 in diarrhea, and 9.3 and 6 in abdominal pain, respectively (>0.05). According to endoscopic findings, the mean D-cell number in the antrum and body was 14.3 and 6 with gastritis, 14 and 9.3 with reflux esophagitis, 16.7 and 8.7 with duodeno-gastric reflux, 19.3 and 12.7 with gastric ulcer, 16 and 13.7 with duodenitis, and 12.3 and 4 with duodenal ulcer, respectively (>0.05). The D-cell number in the gastric body was 2.7 and 8.7 in children with current infection and non-infected children, respectively (=0.01), while those in the antrum were 15.5 and 14, respectively, with no statistical significance.
The D-cell number was lower in the gastric body of children with current infection. Further studies concerning peptide-secreting cells with a control group would provide information about the pathogenic pathways of UGI disorder.

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