Neuro-Hormonal Control of Gastric Acid Secretion: The Role of Histamine

  • Stanislaw J. Konturek
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 80)


The role of histamine as a physiological stimulant of gastric acid secretion has been a subject of controversy and discussion since Popielski (1920) first observed that injection of histamine causes copious gastric acid secretion. This observation initiated studies on the possible involvement of histamine in gastric secretory mechanisms. It has been suggested that the increased blood level of histamine, released from various depots in the body, could stimulate HCl secretion. Although this view was not supported experimentally, the finding of Gavin, McHenry and Wilson (1933) that histamine is abundant in the parietal cell region of the gastric mucosa, prompted Babkin (1938) and Macintosh (1938) to propose that histamine released locally from gastric mucosal stores could stimulate parietal cells to secrete HCl. Emmelin and Kahlson (1944) presented evidence of a functional link between gastrin and mucosal histamine, in that the action of gastrin results in the appearance of histamine in the gastric juice of dogs and cats. Kahlson, Rowengren, Svahn and Turnberg (1964) reported experimental results from rats supporting the view that histamine is a physiological mediator of gastric acid secretion. The rat stomach shows a high level of histidine decarboxylase activity which catalyses the formation of histamine from histidine. This enzyme activity increases in response to gastrin, vagal stimulation and feeding, and there is a concurrent decrease in the amount of bound histamine within the mucosa. Based on these findings Kahlson et al., (1964) hypothesized that gastrin, acetylcholine and feeding release mucosal histamine which stimulates the parietal cells? the depletion of histamine stores then triggers a feedback increase in histidine decarboxylase activity resulting in the formation of new histamine.


Gastric Mucosa Acid Secretion Peptic Ulcer Disease Parietal Cell Gastric Acid Secretion 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stanislaw J. Konturek
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of PhysiologyAcademy of MedicineKrakowPoland

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