Aggravation of Helicobacter pylori stomach infections in stressed military recruits

J Int Med Res. 2016 Apr;44(2):367-76. doi: 10.1177/0300060515593768. Epub 2016 Jan 22.

Abstract

Objective: To investigate the effect of military stress on immune response and Helicobacter pylori stomach infections.

Methods: In this prospective, observational study, the Symptom Checklist-90 questionnaire was completed by military recruits before and following a 3-month basic training programme. H. pylori immunoglobulin (Ig)G levels, C(14)-urea breath-test values and levels of cortisol, catecholamine, and certain humoral and cellular immune responses were measured before and after the basic training.

Results: For 60 military recruits, somatization, depression and paranoid ideation scores were significantly increased after, compared with before, basic training. Post-training H. pylori IgG detection revealed three additional cases of H. pylori infection. Post-training C(14)-urea breath-test values were significantly higher compared with before training - thus suggesting higher levels of H. pylori colonization in the stomach. Post-training cortisol and catecholamine levels were increased, while serum IgG levels were decreased; complement component (C)3 and C4 levels remained unchanged. Post-training CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell percentages and the CD4(+)/CD8(+) ratio were significantly reduced compared with before training. Serum interleukin (IL)-2 levels were lower and IL-10 levels were higher following training and there was a significant decrease in the IL-2/IL-10 ratio.

Conclusion: Military stress may reduce humoral and cellular immune responses and may aggravate the severity of H. pylori infection.

Keywords: C14-urea breath test; Helicobacter pylori; Military stress; immune response; stomach infections.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood*
  • Breath Tests
  • CD4-CD8 Ratio
  • Catecholamines / blood
  • Catecholamines / immunology
  • Complement C3 / immunology
  • Complement C3 / metabolism
  • Complement C4 / immunology
  • Complement C4 / metabolism
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / immunology*
  • Depression / pathology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Helicobacter Infections / complications
  • Helicobacter Infections / immunology*
  • Helicobacter Infections / microbiology
  • Helicobacter Infections / pathology
  • Helicobacter pylori / immunology
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Hydrocortisone / immunology
  • Immunity, Humoral
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood*
  • Interleukin-10 / blood
  • Interleukin-10 / immunology
  • Interleukin-2 / blood
  • Interleukin-2 / immunology
  • Male
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Resistance Training
  • Stomach / immunology*
  • Stomach / microbiology
  • Stomach / pathology
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / immunology*
  • Stress, Psychological / pathology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Urea / metabolism
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Catecholamines
  • Complement C3
  • Complement C4
  • IL10 protein, human
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-10
  • Urea
  • Hydrocortisone