Background and Aims: Regenerating gene (Reg) has been isolated from rat regenerating pancreatic islets, and Reg protein is mitogenic to islet cells. We have recently shown that Reg gene and Reg protein are expressed in gastric enterochromaffin-like (ECL) cells. This study aimed to clarify whether gastrin enhances Reg protein production in ECL cells and whether Reg protein is mitogenic to gastric mucosal cells. Methods: Reg gene expression in response to acute and chronic hypergastrinemia was investigated in rats. Immunohistochemical studies, Northern blotting, and in situ hybridization were performed to investigate the expression of Reg protein and Reg gene. The direct effect of gastrin on Reg gene expression was investigated using isolated ECL cells, and the trophic effect of Reg protein on cultured gastric epithelial cells was assessed by [3H]thymidine uptake. Results: Both chronic hypergastrinemia and short-term gastrin administration stimulated Reg gene expression and Reg protein production in fundic mucosa. Reg gene expression was also augmented in isolated ECL cells after incubation with rat gastrin. Reg protein was mitogenic to cultured rat gastric epithelial cells. Conclusions: Gastrin stimulates the production of Reg protein in gastric ECL cells, which may be involved in the gastrin-induced gastric mucosal cell growth.
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