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Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 1995 Mar;2(2):149-55.

Cross-reactive antigens shared by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Helicobacter pylori, Campylobacter jejuni, and Haemophilus influenzae may cause false-positive titers of antibody to H. pylori.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Microbiology, Danish Cystic Fibrosis Centre, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen.


Cystic fibrosis (CF) patients suffer from many of the gastrointestinal conditions which occur in non-CF individuals, e.g., dyspepsia and peptic ulceration. These symptoms may be caused by Helicobacter pylori but could also be due to either pancreatic insufficiency or the intensive antibiotic treatment used in CF patients. Since CF patients chronically infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa produce antibodies against a wide range of antigens, including antigens common to many other bacteria, e.g., GroEL and lipopolysaccharide, we studied, by the Western blot (immunoblot) technique, the specificity of immunoglobulin G antibodies to H. pylori in Danish CF patients chronically infected with P. aeruginosa, CF patients without P. aeruginosa infection but with Haemophilus influenzae infection, patients with dyspeptic ulcers associated with H. pylori, and patients recovering from acute Campylobacter jejuni or Campylobacter coli infection. Sera from CF patients with chronic P. aeruginosa or H. influenzae infection and patients recovering from acute C. jejuni infection cross-reacted with H. pylori antigens. A strong cross-reacting protein antigen at approximately 14 kDa and minor cross-reactive antigens at approximately 27, 30, and 60 kDa (the heat shock protein GroEL is equivalent to the common antigen of P. aeruginosa) could be demonstrated. The results of this study show that high immunoglobulin G antibody titers against H. pylori in CF patients cannot be regarded as indicating present or past H. pylori infection unless their specificity is proven by absorption studies.

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