Differential helicobacter pylori plasticity in the gastric niche of subjects at increased gastric cancer risk

Mariateresa Casarotto, Chiara Pratesi, Ettore Bidoli, Stefania Maiero, Raffaella Magris, Agostino Steffan, Giancarlo Basaglia, Vincenzo Canzonieri, Valli De Re, Renato Cannizzaro, Stefania Zanussi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


 Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) represents an independent risk factor for Gastric Cancer (GC). First Degree Relatives (FDR) of GC subjects and Autoimmune Gastritis (AG) patients are both at increased risk for GC. H. pylori genetic heterogeneity within the gastric niche of FDR and AG individuals has been little explored. To understand whether they exploit an increased H. pylori stability and virulence, 14 AG, 25 FDR, 39 GC and 13 dyspeptic patients (D) were investigated by a cultural PCR-based approach characterizing single colonies-forming-units. We chose three loci within the Cytotoxin-associated gene-A Pathogenicity Island (CagPAI) (cagA,cagE,virB11), vacA, homA and homB as markers of virulence with reported association to GC. Inflammatory/precancerous lesions were staged according to Sydney System. When compared to D, FDR, similarly to GC patients, were associated to higher atrophy (OR = 6.29; 95% CI:1.23–31.96 in FDR; OR = 7.50; 95% CI:1.67–33.72 in GC) and a lower frequency of mixed infections (OR = 0.16; 95% CI:0.03–0.81 in FDR; OR = 0.10; 95% CI:0.02–0.48 in GC). FDR presented also an increased neutrophil infiltration (OR = 7.19; 95% CI:1.16–44.65). Both FDR and GC carried a higher proportion of CagPAI+vacAs1i1mx+homB+profiles (OR = 2.71; 95% CI: 1.66–4.41 and OR = 3.43; 95% CI: 2.16–5.44, respectively). Conversely, AG patients presented a lower frequency of subtypes carrying a stable CagPAI and vacAs1i1mx. These results underline different H. pylori plasticity in FDR and AG individuals, and thus, a different host-bacterium interaction capacity that should be considered in the context of eradication therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number65
Number of pages19
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • Autoimmune gastritis
  • First degree relatives of gastric cancer patients
  • Gastric cancer
  • Genetic heterogeneity
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Virulence factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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