A decrease in pepsinogen and gastrin levels 1–3 months after Helicobacter pylori eradication is well known. However, few data are available on the long-term progression of these decreases beyond 1 year after eradication, and there has been no investigation into whether pepsinogen and gastrin levels return to normal levels as defined by data from H. pylori-negative patients with dyspepsia.Aim
We studied the effect of H. pylori eradication on pepsinogen and gastrin levels for more than 1 year, and compared levels to those in H. pylori-negative patients with dyspepsia. We also investigated the effect of H. pylori eradication on the course of atrophic corpus gastritis as reflected by histology, and on PGI levels and PG I/II ratio.Methods
We enrolled 172 H. pylori-positive patients with dyspepsia who had undergone successful eradication therapy of more than 1 year's duration and 101 non-treated H. pylori-negative patients with dyspepsia. H. pylori status was assessed at entry and at each endoscopy after eradication by culture, histological results, the rapid urease test and the urea breath test. In both groups, patients were evaluated for fasting serum pepsinogen I and II and gastrin using a radioimmunoassay technique, and underwent detailed histological assessment according to the updated Sydney System.Results
In the H. pylori-negative patients, mean serum pepsinogen I and II, I/II ratio and gastrin levels were 52.6 ± 20.8 ng/mL, 9.2 ± 4.2 ng/mL, 6.0 ± 1.7 and 53.5 ± 29.2 pg/mL, respectively. In H. pylori-positive patients with long-term eradication, pepsinogen I and II, I/II ratio and gastrin levels were 81.3 ± 46.6 ng/mL, 25.9 ± 17.1 ng/mL, 3.4 ± 1.3 and 131.9 ± 130.8 pg/mL, respectively, before treatment. At 1–3 months after eradication, serum pepsinogen I and II levels in the H. pylori-positive patients decreased to levels similar to those in the negative patients, whereas pepsinogen I/II ratio and gastrin levels remained lower and higher, respectively, than in the negative patients. Serum pepsinogen I/II ratio and gastrin levels then became similar between the groups at 12–15 months after eradication. In histological findings, inflammation and neutrophil activity decreased by 1–3 months, and atrophy in the corpus and metaplasia in the antrum decreased by 12–15 months.Conclusion
The results suggest that atrophic corpus gastritis and superficial gastritis are reversible, as indicated by both histological and serological findings in a long-term follow-up study.