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Mechanisms of Intragastric pH Sensing


Luminal amino acids and lack of luminal acidity as a result of acid neutralization by intragastric foodstuffs are powerful signals for acid secretion. Although the hormonal and neural pathways underlying this regulatory mechanism are well understood, the nature of the gastric luminal pH sensor has been enigmatic. In clinical studies, high pH, tryptic peptides, and luminal divalent metals (Ca2+ and Mg2+) increase gastrin release and acid production. The calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR), first described in the parathyroid gland but expressed on gastric G cells, is a logical candidate for the gastric acid sensor. Because CaSR ligands include amino acids and divalent metals, and because extracellular pH affects ligand binding in the pH range of the gastric content, its pH, metal, and nutrient-sensing functions are consistent with physiologic observations. The CaSR is thus an attractive candidate for the gastric luminal sensor that is part of the neuroendocrine negative regulatory loop for acid secretion.

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