Adherence of Helicobacter pylori to gastric epithelial cells and mucosal inflammation

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Adherence of Helicobacter pylori to the gastric epithelium is believed to be an important step in the induction of active inflammation of the mucosal layer. However, structural evidence showing a quantitative relationship between the adherence of H. pylori and severity of gastric mucosal inflammation is lacking. We therefore investigated the correlations between severity of gastritis and adherence of morphologically different forms of H. pylori. Fifty-seven biopsy specimens from the gastric bodies of patients with H. pylori-induced gastritis were examined. The severity of gastritis and the adherence and structure of H. pylori were determined with the use of light and scanning electron microscopy. We also investigated the ability of H. pylori organisms with different structural features to induce interleukin-8 secretion by human gastric adenocarcinoma (AGS) cells in vitro because production of interleukin-8 is related to H. pylori-associated gastritis. Furthermore, serum pepsinogen concentrations and cytotoxin-associated protein status in relation to adherence of H. pylori to the epithelial surface were examined. The results indicated that H. pylori organisms, which adhered firmly to the epithelial surface, were consistently long, tightly coiled bacilli. Histologically, those gastric mucosa samples with H. pylori firmly attached showed severe gastritis. H. pylori bacilli of greater length induced higher levels of interleukin-8 secretion. The serum pepsinogen I/II ratio showed a significant negative correlation with the grade of H. pylori adhesion (r = −0.401, P < .01). We also noted a significant correlation between cytotoxin-associated protein status and the adherence of H. pylori (r = 0.344, P < .05). A quantitative correlation was found between adherence of H. pylori and gastric inflammation. Both adherence and the induction of inflammation were found to be related to the structure of H. pylori. (J Lab Clin Med 2002;139:244-50)

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