Background: Helicobacter pylori factors that contribute to disease outcome are largely unknown, but intimate contact with host cells mediated by outer membrane proteins is thought to play an important role. Expression of the outer membrane proteins OipA, HopZ, SabA, and SabB is regulated by phase-variable dinucleotide repeats in the coding regions of the respective genes. We have evaluated the correlation between the expression status of these four genes and disease outcome of H. pylori infection in a Dutch patient population.
Materials and methods: H. pylori strains, isolated from 96 Dutch patients with gastritis (n = 29), duodenal ulcer (n = 28), gastric ulcer (n = 21), gastric carcinoma (n = 9), and lymphoma (n = 9), were analyzed for the 'on/off' expression status of the H. pylori genes oipA, hopZ, sabA, and sabB by direct DNA sequence analysis of amplified fragments.
Results: The off-status of sabB was significantly associated with duodenal ulcer (p =.036), but not with gastric ulcer. In contrast, the expression status of oipA, hopZ, and sabA did not correlate with disease outcome. Furthermore, lymphoma strains appeared to express a significantly smaller amount of putative adhesins when compared to gastritis, gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer and gastric carcinoma strains (p <.02 for all groups tested).
Conclusions: The off-status of sabB was found to be associated with duodenal ulcer disease, and thus represents a putative marker for disease outcome. Assuming that SabB is involved in bacterial adhesion, this association suggests that adherent H. pylori are more prone to elimination by the host immune system.