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Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2001 May;125(1):66-72.

Helicobacter pylori infection affects eosinophilic cationic protein in the gastric juice of patients with idiopathic chronic urticaria.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Catholic University, Rome, Italy.



Helicobacter pylori, the main cause of gastritis and peptic ulcer, has been associated with idiopathic chronic urticaria (ICU), an immunological skin disorder of unknown origin. Eosinophilic cationic protein (ECP) is a cytotoxic molecule secreted by the activated eosinophils involved in the pathogenesis of ICU. We assessed serum/gastric juice ECP levels and gastric mucosal eosinophil infiltration in ICU patients infected or not with H. pylori and evaluated the modification after bacterium eradication.


33 patients with ICU and 25 dyspeptic controls underwent upper gastrointestinal endoscopy for histological evaluation and assessment of H. pylori infection. One-week triple therapy was given to H. pylori-positive patients. Serum and gastric juice ECP levels, eosinophil infiltration from gastric mucosal sections and urticaria symptoms were evaluated in all patients at enrollment and 8 weeks after eradication.


19 of 33 (57%) ICU patients and 16 of 25 (64%) controls were found to be infected with H. pylori. Serum ECP was significantly higher in ICU patients compared to controls, regardless of infectious status. Gastric juice ECP and gastric eosinophil infiltration were significantly higher in infected ICU patients when compared both to uninfected ICU patients and controls. H. pylori eradication determined a significant decrease in gastric juice ECP and gastric eosinophil infiltration only in ICU patients. Moreover, a total or partial remission of urticaria symptoms was observed only in ICU patients in whom the bacterium was eradicated.


Although H. pylori infection affects gastric juice ECP and eosinophil infiltration of ICU patients, the role of the bacterium in the pathogenesis of this skin disorder still remains uncertain.

Copyright 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel

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