Author(s): Pakodi F, AbdelSalam OM, Debreceni A, Mzsik G
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Abstract Since the historical rediscovery of gastric spiral Helicobacter pylori in the gastric mucosa of patients with chronic gastritis by Warren and Marshall in 1983, peptic ulcer disease has been largely viewed as being of infectious aetiology. Indeed, there is a strong association between the presence of H. pylori and chronic active gastritis in histology. The bacterium can be isolated in not less than 70\% of gastric and in over 90\% of duodenal ulcer patients. Eradication of the organism has been associated with histologic improvement of gastritis, lower relapse rate and less risk of bleeding from duodenal ulcer. The bacterium possesses several virulence factors enabling it to survive the strong acid milieu inside the stomach and possibly damaging host tissues. The sequence of events by which the bacterium might cause gastric or duodenal ulcer is still not fully elucidated and Koch's postulates have never been fulfilled. In the majority of individuals, H. pylori infection is largely or entirely asymptomatic and there is no convincing data to suggest an increase in the prevalence of peptic ulcer disease among these subjects. An increasingly growing body of literature suggests an association between colonization by H. pylori in the stomach and a risk for developing gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT), MALT lymphoma, gastric adenocarcinoma and even pancreatic adenocarcinoma. The bacterium has been implicated also in a number of extra-gastrointestinal disorders such as ischaemic heart disease, ischaemic cerebrovascular disease, atherosclerosis, and skin diseases such as rosacea, but a causal role for the bacterium is missing. Eradication of H. pylori thus seems to be a beneficial impact on human health. Various drug regimens are in use to eradicate H. pylori involving the administration of three or four drugs including bismuth compounds, metronidazole, clarithromycin, tetracyclines, amoxycillin, ranitidine, omeprazole for 1-2 weeks. The financial burden, side effects and emergence of drug resistant strains due to an increase in the use in antibiotics for H. pylori eradication therapy need further reconsideration.
This article was published in J Physiol Paris
and referenced in Clinical Microbiology: Open Access