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Dig Dis Sci. 2000 Aug;45(8):1653-9.

Helicobacter pylori seroconversion in asymptomatic blood donors: a five-year follow-up.

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1st Medical Clinic, University of Bologna, Italy.


Several techniques have been developed to diagnose Helicobacter pylori infection and two noninvasive methods are available: carbon 13-urea breath test (UBT) and serology. Measurement of IgG serum antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is a reliable and inexpensive method for detection of infection. The aim of this study was to assess the seroconversion by different techniques after five to eight years. In 1990, 588 of 1,010 asymptomatic donors were found to be seronegative by ELISA, based on an H. pylori whole-cell suspension lysate (sensitivity and specificity: 92% and 97%). In 1995 serum samples from 418 of 588 seronegative donors were collected and retested using the same antigen. 411 of 418 samples were frankly negative, and 7 donors were found to be seroconverted. This group of seven sera represents the object of the study. They were retested by ELISA and western blotting using a different antigen (NCTC). To standardize our techniques, sera from 43 H. pylori positive and 47 H. pylori negative patients according to culture, histology, urease test, and UBT were used. The cutoff for ELISA-NCTC was 0.53 AI (absorbance index) (mean value + 2 SD), and for western blotting was negativity for CagA or <10 bands (sensitivity and specificity: 95% and 96%; 98% and 81% for ELISA and western blotting respectively). According to the results obtained in 1990 and 1995, seven donors were found to be seroconverted by ELISA using sonicated antigen; in five the seroconversion was confirmed by ELISA using NCTC antigen and in two there was concordance with WB. Four of the seven donors were contacted and asked to undergo UBT and a further serum sample was drawn to be reassessed in 1998. A seroconversion was found in all four donors by ELISA, while WB and UBT confirmed the seroconversion in only three of four donors. In conclusion the in-house ELISA used performed well compared to other theoretically better serologic assays and confirmed the low seroconversion rate for H. pylori infection in adult populations living in developed countries.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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