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J Gastroenterol. 1995 Dec;30(6):689-95.

Detection of Helicobacter pylori DNA in gastric juice by the polymerase chain reaction: comparison with findings in bacterial culture and the detection of tissue IgA and serum IgG antibodies against Helicobacter pylori.

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  • 1First Department of Surgery, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, Japan.


The detection of Helicobacter pylori in gastric juice by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was undertaken in 124 patients with peptic ulcer or chronic gastritis. PCR products were evaluated by agarose gel electrophoresis and Southern hybridization of H. pylori-specific DNA sequences. Positive and negative results of the PCR analysis in 72 examinations were compared with those from bacterial culture, and with the detection of tissue IgA antibody against H. pylori by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay ELISA; Serion, Wuerzburg, Germany, and detection of serum IgG antibody against H. pylori by ELISA; Radim Pomezia, Italy. Thirty-four PCR-positive samples evaluated by electrophoresis and hybridization coincided with positive samples in 56% of bacterial cultures, 59% of tissue IgA antibody identifications, and 94% of serum IgG antibody evaluations; 26 PCR-negative samples coincided with negative samples in 96% of bacterial cultures, 81% of tissue IgA antibody evaluations, and 38% of serum IgG assessments. We compared the detection achieved with the H. pylori PCR assay in gastric juice with that in biopsies taken from the antrum and upper corpus in 90 examinations, and found them to be both positive in 34 (38%) and 36 (40%) of specimens, both negative in 37 (41%) and 30 (33%) specimens, gastric juice-positive but biopsy-negative in 10 (11%) and 12 (13%) specimens, and vice versa in 9 (10%) and 12 (13%) specimens, when detected by electrophoresis and hybridization, respectively, showing equivalent detection rates. In relation to the type of disease, the positive PCR assay results with gastric juice, evaluated by electrophoresis and hybridization, respectively, were: gastric ulcer 34/53 (64%) and 39/53 (74%), duodenal ulcer 23/38 (61%) and 25/38 (66%), and chronic gastritis 20/33 (61%) and 23/33 (70%), showing no significant difference in positive rates between peptic ulcer and chronic gastritis. Of the samples of 16 patients with H. pylori-positive gastric juice by the PCR assay, 7 were negative by PCR assay analyzed by electrophoresis and hybridization after the completion of treatment H. pylori. However, after treatment, 3 were negative on electrophoresis but still had positive results with hybridization, indicating that a minimal number of bacilli may have still remained. Detection of H. pylori in gastric juice has potential advantages for examining H. pylori infection in the entire stomach and for follow up after treatment for the eradication of H. pylori.

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