Low prevalence of Helicobacter pylori in individuals with HTLV-I infection

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1999 May;11(5):497-502. doi: 10.1097/00042737-199905000-00006.


Background: The prevalence of Helicobacter pylori in HIV-positive individuals is significantly lower than in HIV-negative controls. However, its prevalence in individuals infected with human T-cell leukaemia virus type I (HTLV-I), another important member of the human retrovirus family, has not been previously investigated.

Objective: To establish the prevalence of H. pylori in HTLV-I-positive individuals in the Nagasaki Prefecture, which is an area endemic for HTLV-I.

Methods: We examined sera from 146 HTLV-I-positive individuals with a mean age of 56.7 years, consisting of 45 adult T-cell leukaemia (ATL) patients, 13 HTLV-I-associated myelopathy (HAM) patients and 88 healthy carriers. Serum samples of 292 age- and sex-matched HTLV-I-negative controls were also examined. Serum anti-H. pylori immunoglobulin (Ig) G antibody was examined using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit. Twenty-eight HTLV-I-positive patients were examined endoscopically, assessed for H. pylori by culture, histology and CLO test using gastric biopsy specimens, and gastritis in these patients was also graded histologically.

Results: The seroprevalence of H. pylori was 48% in HTLV-I-positive individuals versus 64% in HTLV-I-negative controls (P < 0.01). In the three HTLV-I-positive groups, ATL patients and carriers had significantly lower seroprevalence of H. pylori than the HTLV-I-negative controls (P < 0.05). Assessment of H. pylori using gastric biopsy specimens also showed a significantly lower prevalence of H. pylori infection in HTLV-I-positive patients than controls (46% versus 70%, P < 0.05). Histological examination showed a significantly higher degree of activity, inflammation and glandular atrophy in the antrum and corpus in H. pylori-positive patients compared to H. pylori-negative patients. H. pylori-positive patients with HTLV-I infection had a more severe degree of glandular atrophy in the corpus than H. pylori-positive controls without HTLV-I infection.

Conclusion: We have found a reduced prevalence of H. pylori in HTLV-I-positive individuals. Whatever the explanation, infection with HTLV-I does not predispose to the risk of H. pylori infection.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Comorbidity
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • HTLV-I Infections / epidemiology*
  • Helicobacter Infections / epidemiology*
  • Helicobacter pylori*
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Sensitivity and Specificity