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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2009 Sep;15(9):835-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2009.02769.x. Epub 2009 Apr 10.

The association of vacA genotype and Helicobacter pylori-related disease in Latin American and African populations.

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Department of Medicine-Gastroenterology, Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.


In the populations of Western countries, particular genotypes of the vacuolating cytotoxin gene, vacA (vacA s, signal region variants; vacA m, middle region variants) of Helicobacter pylori are believed to be risk factors for the development of peptic ulcers and gastric cancer. However, it was unclear whether these vacA gene variants are associated with the development of gastrointestinal diseases in developing nations. The relationship between vacA genotypes and H. pylori-related disease development in Latin American and African populations was investigated using meta-analysis of 2612 patients from Latin America (2285 strains) and 520 patients from Africa (434 strains). The frequencies of vacA s and m genotypes differed between strains from Latin America (77.2% for s1 and 68.1% for m1) and Africa (83.9% for s1 and 56.7% for m1). Latin American strains with s1 and m1 genotypes increased the risk of gastric cancer (OR 4.17, 95% CI 2.49-6.98 for s1, and 3.59, 2.27-5.68 for m1) and peptic ulcers (e.g. 1.73, 1.37-2.20 for s1). African strains with the s1 or m1 genotypes also increased the risk of peptic ulcers (8.69, 1.16-64.75 for s1) and gastric cancer (10.18, 2.36-43.84 for m1). The cagA-positive genotype frequently coincided with s1 and m1 genotypes in both populations. Overall, the vacA s and m genotypes were related to gastric cancer and peptic ulcer development and might be useful markers of risk factors for gastrointestinal disease, especially in Latin America. Further studies will be required to evaluate the effects of vacA genotypes in African populations because of the small sample number currently available.

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