The effect of epidermal growth factor (EGF) on gastric acid secretion was correlated with the morphological changes of the apical pole of rat parietal cells studied by transmission electron microscopy. Gastric acid secretion was stimulated by histamine, carbachol, pentagastrin, and insulin-induced hypoglycemia, and estimated by continuous recording of pH variations of gastric luminal perfusate. EGF inhibits acid secretion in these conditions. The action of the hormone also results in the arrest or reversal of the changes in shape undergone by parietal cells as they go into secretion. In view of the evidence involving cytoskeletal elements in the generation of these structural alterations, our observations suggest that the action of EGF on gastric acid secretion may be a consequence of a general effect of this hormone on cytoskeletal function.

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