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Helicobacter pylori infection and gastric autoimmune diseases: is there a link?

AbstractBACKGROUND:
Helicobacter pylori is thought to be involved in atrophic body gastritis. We explored the prevalence of H. pylori infection in asymptomatic subjects with gastric parietal cell antibodies, as well as in patients with pernicious anemia, to evaluate a possible role of H. pylori gastric infection in gastric autoimmunity.
PATIENTS AND METHODS:
We studied 79 consecutive asymptomatic subjects with parietal cell antibodies, 24 patients with pernicious anemia, and 66 parietal cell antibody-negative controls. All patients underwent gastric biopsies for histology and detection of H. pylori. Red blood cell count and volume, serum levels of gastrin, pepsinogen I, iron, folic acid, vitamin B12, and circulating antibodies to H. pylori and to intrinsic factor were also determined.
RESULTS:
We found an atrophic body gastritis in 14 of the 79 asymptomatic subjects with parietal cell antibodies (18%) and in 2 of the 66 controls (3%) (p =.01). Mean levels of gastrin were increased (p <.0001), while those of pepsinogen were reduced (p <.001) compared with controls. H. pylori was identified at the gastric level and/or circulating anti-H. pylori antibodies were detected in 46 parietal cell antibody-positive subjects (58%) compared with 26 controls (39%) (p =.03). In patients with pernicious anemia we found an atrophic body gastritis in 18 of 24 cases (75%) (p <.001 vs. controls). Mean levels of gastrin were markedly increased (p <.0001) and those of pepsinogen I decreased (p <.0001) relative to controls. Only five of these patients (21%) had evidence of H. pylori infection compared with 46 of the parietal cell antibody-positive subjects (58%) (p =.003) and 26 of the controls (39%). Considering all patients with gastric autoimmunity (i.e. with parietal cell antibodies and/or with pernicious anemia), H. pylori was found in 44 of 72 of those without atrophy (61%) but in 6 of 31 with gastric body atrophy (19%) (p <.001), indicating that H. pylori infection is greatly reduced when gastric acid secretion decreases.
CONCLUSIONS:
The frequent detection of H. pylori infection in subjects with early gastric autoimmunity, indicated by the presence of parietal cell antibodies, suggests that H. pylori could have a crucial role in the induction and/or the maintenance of autoimmunity at the gastric level.
AuthorsFabio Presotto, Beatrice Sabini, Attilio Cecchetto, Mario Plebani, Franca De Lazzari, Beniamino Pedini, Corrado Betterle
JournalHelicobacter (Helicobacter) Vol. 8 Issue 6 Pg. 578-84 (Dec 2003) ISSN: 1083-4389 [Print] United States
PMID14632671 (Publication Type: Journal Article)
Chemical References
  • Autoantibodies
Topics
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anemia, Pernicious (epidemiology, immunology, microbiology)
  • Atrophy
  • Autoantibodies (blood)
  • Autoimmune Diseases (epidemiology, microbiology)
  • Female
  • Gastric Mucosa (immunology, microbiology, pathology)
  • Gastritis, Atrophic (epidemiology, immunology, microbiology)
  • Helicobacter Infections (epidemiology, immunology, pathology)
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parietal Cells, Gastric (immunology, pathology)
  • Prevalence

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