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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2009 Mar;15(3):253-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2008.02666.x. Epub 2009 Jan 22.

Mixed infections of Helicobacter pylori: tissue tropism and histological significance.

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Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, National Cheng-Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan.


Mixed infections with Helicobacter pylori facilitate interstrain gene transfer and the maintenance of genetic diversity for adaptation to the gastric environment, but whether mixed infections with histological significance and tissue tropism occur in the human stomach is still unclear. Helicobacter pylori was isolated from the antrum and the corpus of 30 dyspeptic patients. Four to eight colonies were randomly collected from each site. The genetic diversity of each isolate was evaluated by comparing random amplified polymorphic DNA banding patterns. The prevalence of mixed infections was 23.3% (7/30), and different dominant strains were isolated from the antrum and the corpus specimens. In the 23 patients infected with a single strain, the acute inflammation (AI) score, chronic inflammation (CI) score, atrophy (AT) score and lymphoid follicle (LF) score of the antrum were usually higher than those of the corpus (p <or=0.002). However, in the seven patients with mixed infections, the CI, H. pylori density (HPD), AT and LF scores of the antrum and the corpus were similar (p >0.05). Moreover, the patients with mixed infections had marginally higher CI and HPD scores than those with single-strain infection (p 0.062 and p 0.095, respectively) in the corpus and had a significantly higher rate of appearance of intestinal metaplasia (IM) in the antrum (p 0.005). These data show that H. pylori tissue tropism was found in the human stomach, and suggest that mixed infections could change the histological features in the antrum and in the corpus, and that they could be associated with the appearance of IM in the antrum.

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