Gastrin has a general growth-promoting effect on gastric oxyntic mucosa, and a more pronounced one on the enterochromaffin-like (ECL) cell. Whether gastrin has a proliferative effect on the parietal cell lineage beyond the general effect is uncertain. Hypergastrinaemia was evoked in rats using pantoprazole (group II: 100 μmol kg–1, group III: 400 μmol kg–1) for 45 days. Plasma gastrin was 43 ± 8 pmol L–1 (control), 283 ± 54 pmol L–1 (group II) and 577 ± 63 pmol L–1 (group III). Gastric mucosal cells were isolated and fractionated by elutriation centrifugation. Total cell number, percentage and number of ECL and parietal cells, and histamine were determined in each fraction. The number of mucosal cells increased 1.5-fold in both hypergastrinaemic groups. Enterochromaffin-like cell content was 2.6 ± 0.5% (control), 6.0 ± 0.6% (group II) and 9.0 ± 0.8% (group III). Histamine concentration in oxyntic mucosal cells rose similarly. The size of the ECL cells was 8.5 ± 0.1 μm (control), 10.8 ± 0.2 μm (group II) and 12.1 ± 0.2 μm (group III), and the increased size was confirmed by shifted distribution in elutriation fractions. Histamine per ECL cell increased with cell size. The number of parietal cells increased parallel to the total number of mucosal cells (1.5-fold). Parietal cell size and percentage, assessed by image analysis and distribution in elutriation fractions, were unchanged after pantoprazole dosing. Gastrin has a pronounced, concentration-dependent specific trophic effect on ECL cells and a general proliferative effect on gastric mucosa, including parietal cells.