Helicobacter pylori infects more than half of the world's population. Although most patients are asymptomatic, persistent infection may cause chronic gastritis and gastric cancer. Adhesion of the bacteria to the gastric mucosa is a necessary prerequisite for the pathogenesis of H. pylori-related diseases and is mediated by mucin O-glycans. In order to define which glycans may be implicated in the binding of the bacteria to the gastric mucosa in humans, we have characterized the exact pattern of glycosylation of gastric mucins. We have identified that the major component was always a core 2-based glycan carrying two blood group H antigens, whatever was the blood group of individuals. We have also demonstrated that around 80% of O-glycans carried blood group A, B or H antigens, suggesting that the variation of gastric mucin glycosylation between individuals is partly due to the blood group status. This study will help better understanding the role of O-glycans in the physiology and homeostasis of gastric mucosa. Overall, the results reported here give us the necessary background information to begin studies to determine whether individuals who express certain carbohydrate epitopes on specific mucins are predisposed to certain gastric diseases.