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Infect Immun. 1993 Oct;61(10):4051-7.

Adherence of Helicobacter pylori to primary human gastrointestinal cells.

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Department of Paediatrics, University College Dublin, Children's Research Center, Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin, Ireland.


Helicobacter pylori adheres only to gastric cells in vivo. However, the organism adheres to a wide variety of nongastric cells in vitro. In this study, we have used flow cytometry to assess the adherence of H. pylori to primary epithelial cells isolated from gastric, duodenal, and colonic biopsy specimens by collagenase digestion. After incubation of bacteria and cells together and subsequent staining with a two-stage fluorescein isothiocyanate-labelled H. pylori antibody method, cells with adherent bacteria could be easily distinguished from cells without bacteria. Binding to Kato III cells (a gastric adenocarcinoma cell line) was saturable when bacteria and cells were mixed at a ratio of 250:1. Adherence to cells isolated from gastric biopsy specimens was significantly better than adherence to cells isolated from duodenal or colonic biopsy specimens. Almost 70% of gastric cells had bacteria bound, in contrast to 30% of duodenal cells and 32% of colonic cells (P < 0.0001). There was no correlation between expression of hemagglutinins by the bacteria and ability to bind to either Kato III cells or primary epithelial cells isolated from gastric biopsy specimens. In view of the strict tropism that the organism exhibits in vivo for gastric cells, the results of this study indicate that primary cells are ideal for assessing the factors that might play a role in the pathogenesis of disease caused by the organism.

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