, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 400-414

Correlative study of hydrochloric acid, pepsin, and intrinsic factor secretion in newborns and infants

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The developmental patterns of secretion of hydrochloric acid, pepsin, and intrinsic factor were studied, following Histalog stimulation, in gastric juice of infants 12 hr to 3 months old. In the first day of life, the outputs of hydrochloric acid, intrinsic factor, and pepsin were very low, but in no instance was achlorhydria found. The outputs of these three glandular secretory components then showed a gradual increase until the third week after birth, followed by a short decline in the third to fourth week, and a second sustained rise continuing into the second and third month of life.

A good correlation was observed between the outputs of hydrochloric acid and intrinsic factor in gastric juice of the neonate following Histalog stimulation; and a somewhat poorer correlation between that of intrinsic factor and pepsin.

When secretory outputs were recalculated for body weight, those of intrinsic factor in infants 2–3 months old were at levels comparable to that observed in older children and adults; those of hydrochloric acid, at the lower range of normal, or slightly below adult levels; and that of pepsin, well below adult values.

On serial determinations, one infant showed intrinsic-factor activity, throughout the period of study, that was well below that of other infants of comparable age. The possible relationship of this case to juvenile pernicious anemia is discussed.