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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2007 May;13(5):525-31. Epub 2007 Mar 7.

Low prevalence of Helicobacteraceae in gall-stone disease and gall-bladder carcinoma in the German population.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Infectious Diseases, Otto-von-Guericke University, Magdeburg, Germany.


Colonisation of the hepatobiliary system with bile-resistant Helicobacter spp. has been proposed as a novel risk-factor in the pathogenesis of gall-bladder carcinoma (GBC). There are reports that biliary Helicobacter colonisation is frequent in countries with a high incidence of gall-bladder carcinoma. However, the prevalence of Helicobacteraceae in the gall-bladders of patients with GBC in Germany, a region with a low incidence of GBC, is unknown. Therefore, gall-bladder tissue from 99 patients who had undergone cholecystectomy was tested, including 57 cases of gall-stone disease (GSD), 20 cases of GBC, and 22 control patients. The presence of Helicobacter spp. was investigated by culture, immunohistochemistry and a group-specific PCR targeting the 16S rRNA gene of all currently known Helicobacteraceae. Of the 99 cases investigated, only one patient with GSD was PCR-positive for Helicobacteraceae. For this individual, sequence analysis of the 16S rRNA gene showed that it had homology closest to the 16S rRNA sequence of Helicobacter ganmani. Helicobacteraceae were not detected by culture or immunohistochemistry. The low prevalence of Helicobacteraceae in the gall-bladders investigated suggests that Helicobacteraceae do not play a predominant role in the pathogenesis of GSD and GBC in the German population. The low prevalence could be a possible explanation for a relatively low incidence of GBC in the German population, despite the fact that GSD, the major risk-factor for GBC, is highly prevalent.

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