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Dig Liver Dis. 2006 Mar;38(3):171-6. Epub 2006 Feb 7.

Serum antibodies to enterohepatic Helicobacter spp. in patients with chronic liver diseases and in a population with high prevalence of H. pylori infection.

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Department of Immunology, Centre of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Institute of General and Molecular Pathology, University of Tartu, Ravila 19, 51014 Tartu, Estonia.



Enteric Helicobacter species might be a risk factor for chronic liver and biliary tract diseases.


To analyse serum antibody levels to three enteric Helicobacter species in patients with various biliary tract and chronic liver diseases and compare results with corresponding parameters for an adult population group, known to have a high prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection, and with healthy blood donors, to explore a possible association of enteric Helicobacter with chronic liver diseases.


Sera of 90 patients with various chronic liver diseases, 121 Estonian adult persons and 68 blood donors were analysed.


Sera, previously tested for H. pylori were analysed for IgG to Helicobacter hepaticus, Helicobacter bilis and Helicobacter pullorum. ELISA was initially used for screening and exclusion of negative cases. Sera with positive ELISA results were further analysed by immunoblot. To remove cross-reactive antibodies between H. pylori and the enteric species, sera were pre-absorbed with lysed H. pylori cells.


Liver patients showed a significantly higher seroprevalence to H. hepaticus and H. bilis, compared with the adult population group (p=0.0001 and 0.04, respectively), and to H. hepaticus, compared with blood donors (p=0.01). Patients with autoimmune hepatitis showed no significant antibody reactivity to the enteric Helicobacter spp. in contrast to patients with other chronic liver diseases.


Patients with chronic liver diseases, except autoimmune hepatitis patients, showed increased antibody levels to H. bilis/H. hepaticus compared with the population and blood donors indicating a possible role of enteric Helicobacter in the natural course of chronic liver diseases. Immunoblot seems to be a promising method for serodiagnosis of infections with these fastidious pathogens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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