Mucus and Gastric Acid-Bicarbonate Interaction

  • J. B. Elder
  • A. R. Hearn
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 144)


Normally the mucosa of the stomach has a unique ability to resist digestion by the acidic proteolytic gastric secretion within its lumen. This property is impaired in peptic ulceration whether it occurs in the stomach or in the duodenum. The role of the layer of mucus on the surface of gastric and duodenal epithelial cells is poorly understood but it is believed that there is a degree of cyto-protection in the form of a barrier (1). Recently others have shown that substances with anti-ulcer properties stimulate gastric bicarbonate secretion (2) which is probably dissolved in mucus. There thus exists the possibility that interaction takes place between bicarbonate ions and hydrogen ions within the layer of mucus itself at the surface of the epithelial cells. Any such interaction would result in the formation of CO2 which would be likely to diffuse rapidly through the mucus layer into the gastric lumen. Using a new flexible silicon-coated teflon catheter (BOC) with a semi-permeable membrane 1 cm from its tip measurements of the intragastric pCO2 by a mass spectrometer were made in a total of 17 human subjects. Six normal subjects in the fasting state and 11 patients with either gastric, duodenal ulcer or combined duodenal and gastric ulcers and one patient with gastric carcinoma were studied. pC02


Duodenal Ulcer Gastric Ulcer Mucus Layer Bicarbonate Concentration Gastric Lumen 
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    Davenport, H.W. (1972), Sci. Ameri. 226, 86–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Garner, A, and Heyling, J.R. (1979), Gastroenterology, 76, 497–503PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Parke, D.V. (1978), Medical Bull. 34, 89–94Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. B. Elder
    • 1
  • A. R. Hearn
    • 1
  1. 1.University Department of SurgeryManchester Royal InfirmaryManchesterUK

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