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Helicobacter pylori in vivo causes structural changes in the adherent gastric mucus layer but barrier thickness is not compromised

Lookup NU author(s): Emerita Professor Julia Newton, Vicki Strugala, Emeritus Professor Oliver James


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Background - It has been proposed that a pathogenic effect of Helicobacter pylori is a weakening of the protective mucus barrier; however, this remains controversial. Aims - To clarify the effects of H pylori infection on the mucus gel barrier in vivo. Methods - Mucus gel polymeric structure and the thickness of the adherent mucus barrier were measured in endoscopic biopsy samples in subjects with and without H pylori infection. Results - There was a significant 18% reduction in the proportion of polymeric gel forming mucin in the adherent mucus layer in H pylori positive compared with negative subjects. There was no change in the adherent mucus thickness between H pylori positive and negative subjects without gastric atrophy (mean (SD): 104 (26) μm, 106 (30) μm respectively). There was however a significant reduction in mucus thickness in those H pylori positive subjects with underlying gastric atrophy (84 (13) μm, p=0.03) compared with those without atrophy. Conclusions - A partial breakdown in gel forming structure of the gastric mucus barrier does occur in H pylori infection per se but this is insufficient to cause a collapse of the mucus barrier.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Newton JL, Jordan N, Oliver L, Strugala V, Pearson J, James OFW, Allen A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Gut

Year: 1998

Volume: 43

Issue: 4

Pages: 470-475

Print publication date: 01/01/1998

ISSN (print): 0017-5749

ISSN (electronic): 1468-3288

Publisher: BMJ Group


DOI: 10.1136/gut.43.4.470

PubMed id: 9824571


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