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Summary

Gastrin is the only hormone known to stimulate secretion of hydrochloric acid. It also has trophic effects on specific parts of the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract. Using radioimmunoassay techniques, postprandial serum gastrin and insulin concentrations were measured in six adult horses to establish effects of different diets on gastrin concentrations. Insulin concentrations were measured to provide support to the patterns of gastrin secretion because patterns of insulin secretion were already known. The horses were fed coastal bermuda hay, or twice daily 5 kg of a complete pelleted ration, 5 kg of commercial sweet feed or 5 kg of the sweet feed together with hay. There was little change in serum gastrin or insulin concentrations after feeding hay alone. Rations containing more readily available nutrients (pellets, sweet feed) produced significant increases in postprandial serum gastrin and insulin concentrations. Gastrin concentrations also varied according to the duration of feeding each diet, but this was not seen with insulin. These results indicated that gastrin secretion, and therefore possibly gastric acid secretion, were markedly influenced by dietary composition and duration of feeding a diet. There appeared to be some adaptation of the stomach (gastrin secretion) to changes in diet, but this was not accompanied by indications of adaptation in the endocrine pancreas (insulin secretion).