Increased gastric epithelial cell apoptosis associated with colonization with cagA + Helicobacter pylori strains

Steven F. Moss, Emilia Mia Sordillo, Abdalrahman M. Abdalla, Vladimir Makarov, Zoltan Hanzely, Guillermo I. Perez-Perez, Martin J. Blaser, Peter R. Holt

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120 Scopus citations


Gastric colonization by Helicobacter pylori is a risk factor for noncardia gastric cancer. The association between H. pylori and cancer may be attributable to increased epithelial cell turnover, possibly related to antigastric antibodies. Two previous studies reported a disproportionate increase in proliferation relative to apoptosis in patients with H. pylori strains expressing the virulence-related cagA gene. This has led to the hypothesis that an abrogation of apoptosis by cagA-positive strains may promote neoplasia. We, therefore, examined the effect of H. pylori on gastric epithelial proliferation, apoptosis, and the presence of serum antiparietal cell antibodies in a large prospective study. Proliferation and apoptosis were evaluated “blindly” using validated immunohistochemical methods in two antral and two gastric corpus biopsies from 60 patients with nonulcer dyspepsia, and results were correlated with the presence of serum antiparietal cell antibodies. H. pylori colonization was assessed by histology, biopsy urease test, and serology. Proliferation was increased 2-fold in both antrum and corpus in H. pylori-positive patients, was not related to H. pylori cagA status, and was positively correlated with histological gastritis. Apoptosis was increased in the antrum and body only in patients with cagA-positive H. pylori strains. Antiparietal cell antibodies were not more prevalent in H. pylori colonization, and their presence was inversely related to epithelial apoptosis scores we therefore conclude that in patients with nonulcer dyspepsia, H. pylori carriage is associated with increased proliferation. Futhermore the cag pathogenicity island is associated with increased apoptosis. Our results do not support the hypothesis that there is a relative deficiency of gastric epithelial cell apoptosis associated with the carriage of cagA-positive strains. Host factors may be more important than bacterial products in determining the long-term outcome of H. pylori colonization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1406-1411
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2001
Externally publishedYes


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