Objective: The effects of Helicobacter pylori infection and its associated gastric histology on alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene concentrations in serum, gastric juice and antral mucosa were investigated in patients undergoing routine gastroscopy for investigation of dyspepsia.
Method: Eighty-six patients were studied. High-performance liquid chromatography was used to measure alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene concentrations. H. pylori infection was assessed by histology, bacterial culture, rapid urease test and serology.
Results: No obvious association was found between age, sex, smoking or endoscopic diagnosis and alpha-tocopherol or beta-carotene concentrations in serum, gastric juice and antral mucosa. However, alcohol drinkers had significantly lower antral mucosal and gastric juice beta-carotene concentrations compared to non-drinkers. Gastric juice beta-carotene concentration was markedly lower in patients infected with H. pylori than uninfected controls (2.9 nmol/l (interquartile range 0.3-4.3) versus 4.6 nmol/l (interquartile range 3.5-7.6), P = 0.01), but there was no significant difference in serum or gastric mucosal beta-carotene concentrations between the two patient groups. The presence of gastric atrophy and intestinal metaplasia was significantly associated with reduced mucosal alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene concentrations. Furthermore, antral mucosal alpha-tocopherol concentrations decreased progressively as antral mucosal histology changed from normal to chronic gastritis alone and finally to atrophy and intestinal metaplasia.
Conclusion: Gastric alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene concentrations are affected by H. pylori-associated gastric histological changes, and these findings suggest that H. pylori infection may not only impair the protective role of vitamin C, but also of alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene in the stomach.