Parietal cell protrusion (PCP), swelling and bulging of parietal cells, has been observed in the oxyntic mucosa of patients receiving omeprazole. The frequency of this event and the underlying mechanisms remain to be clarified. As such, it is unknown whether there is a relation with either serum gastrin or Helicobacter pylori infection, and whether PCP predisposes to the development of fundic gland cysts (FGC). We therefore investigated the development of PCP and FGC in gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) patients treated with omeprazole and correlated findings to duration of therapy, gastrin, and H pylori infection. In a randomized, double-blinded study, GERD patients were evaluated by endoscopy with biopsy sampling for histology and culture at baseline, and after 3 and 12 months' therapy with omeprazole 40 mg daily. H pylori-positive patients were randomized to additional eradication therapy or placebo antibiotics at baseline. All histological slides were scored blinded for time and outcome of culture for the presence of PCP and FGC. Fasting serum samples from all visits were used for gastrin measurements. The prevalence of PCP increased during omeprazole therapy from 18% at baseline to 79% and 86% at 3 and 12 months (P < .001, baseline v both 3 and 12 months). The prevalence of FGC increased from 8% to 17% and 35% (P < .05, baseline v 12 months). The prevalence of PCP and FGC did not differ among the H pylori-positive and H pylori-negative patients at baseline (PCP 16% v 20% and FGC 7% v 8%, respectively). Whereas H pylori eradication did not significantly affect development of PCP (P = .7), FGC developed significantly more often in the H pylori-eradicated patients when compared with persistent H pylori-positive patients (P < .05). PCP development was related to serum gastrin rise during therapy. In conclusion, PCP occurs in most patients within the first months of omeprazole treatment and is related to increased gastrin levels. FGC develops more gradually and is enhanced by H pylori eradication. (C) 2000 by W.B. Saunders Company.