Detection of Helicobacter pylori cagA gene by polymerase chain reaction in faecal samples

Francesco Russo, Maria Notarnicola, Giovanni Di Matteo, Claudio Leoci, Maria Lucia Caruso, Michele Pirrelli, Maurizio Caradonna, Luca Morandi, Alfredo Di Leo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has been extensively and successfully used to detect Helicobacter pylori in gastric juice and gastric biopsies. In contrast, the results obtained using faeces as biological samples for PCR are rather conflicting. This may be due to the presence of faecal inhibitory compounds (polysaccharides) which can inhibit the amplification reaction. The aim of this study was to characterize the H. pylori genotype in faecal samples by using specific primers for the cagA gene. To overcome the problem of contamination by polysaccharides, we used a filter-based extraction technique already applied in a previous study. Methods. Antral and body biopsies were obtained from 30 symptomatic patients undergoing upper endoscopy. PCR was used to detect the presence of H. pylori organisms in faecal samples by using primers selected for the urease gene A. In addition, H. pylori organisms were characterized both in faecal samples and paraffin-embedded biopsies by PCR with specific primers for the cagA gene. Results. All patients showed a positive CLO test (rapid urease test) and evidence of H. pylori by Warthin-Starry stain. PCR detected the urease A gene in the faecal samples of all patients. The cagA gene was detected in the faecal and biopsy samples of 18 subjects (60%). Duodenal ulcer and/or antral erosions were observed in 15 of the 18 cagA-positive patients (83.3%) and in five of the 12 cagA-negative patients (41.7%). Endoscopic features of normal mucosa or gastritis were observed in three cagA-positive patients (16.7%) and in seven cagA-negative patients (56.3%). cagA-positive status was found to be significantly related to the endoscopic features of duodenal ulceration and/or antral erosions. Conclusions. Our findings prove that faeces are suitable samples for the detection of cagA status. Moreover, they confirm the existence of a significant relationship between cagA-positive status and duodenal ulcer and/or antral erosions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-256
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • cagA
  • Faeces
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • PCR
  • Peptic ulcer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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