Little attention has been given to the gastric secretion of pepsin in children. The purpose of this paper is to define the behaviour of peptic concentration (UI/ml) and Basal (BPO) and Stimulated (SPO) Peptic Outputs in children with normal and altered gastric acid secretion. 54 children, aged 15 months to 12 years, were studied: 20 of them were normal, 20 had gastric hypersecretion and 14 were hyposecretors. In the normal subjects the BPO is inversely correlated with age, while the SPO increases with the body weight, but this increment diminishes after the age of 6 years. From these data one can assume that the gastric principal cells reach their functional maturity around the age of 6 years. In the hypersecretors peptic and acid secretions are not correlated in basal conditions, while after pentagrastrin stimulation peptic secretion is greater than in normal subjects but not as the acid one. The SPO is correlated with body weight and height. The different behaviour of hydrochloric acid and pepsin is probably due to the use of pentagrastrin, which is a specific stimulant of oxyntic but not of principal cells. In the hyposecretors both BPO and SPO are lower than in normal children and no correlation was found with age, body weight and acid secretion.
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