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Virchows Arch. 1998 Jul;433(1):13-8.

Apoptosis in chronic gastritis and its correlation with antigastric autoantibodies.

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  • 1Institute of Pathology, University of Erlangen-N├╝rnberg, Erlangen, Germany.


In the course of time, chronic gastritis may result in gastric atrophy, as in type A gastritis, where autoimmune reactions against parietal cells result in a loss of corpus glands. Two antigastric autoantibodies have been detected in Helicobacter pylori gastritis and are described as anti-luminal and anti-canalicular autoantibodies. The aim of this study was to determine whether increased apoptosis may be responsible for the loss of gastric epithelium and whether this apoptosis is correlated with antigastric autoimmunity. Gastric biopsies from normal mucosa and Helicobacter pylori gastritis were analysed for the presence of apoptosis using the TUNEL method. Helicobacter pylori gastritis was divided into cases (1) without autoantibodies, (2) with anti-luminal, and (3) with anti-canalicular autoantibodies. Apoptotic cells of the foveolar and of the glandular epithelium in the antrum and corpus were counted. The number of apoptotic cells in the gastric mucosa was significantly increased in all cases of gastritis. The highest number of apoptotic cells was observed in the gastric glands of the corpus mucosa in Helicobacter pylori gastritis with anti-canalicular autoantibodies. Apoptosis contributes to the development of gastric atrophy and there are various types of Helicobacter pylori gastritis. The positive correlation between apoptotic cell loss in the glandular zone of the corpus mucosa and the presence of anti-canalicular autoantibodies indicates a possible link between anti-gastric autoimmunity and atrophy in this type of Helicobacter pylori gastritis--similar to that in classic type A gastritis.

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