The molecular mechanism of Helicobacter pylori resistance to tetracycline involves mutations in the primary binding site of the ribosome. A resistance or reduced susceptibility to tetracycline could be the result of single, double or triple mutations in the 16S rRNA gene of H. pylori. We investigated if the genotype was correlated to tetracycline resistance as determined phenotypically in vitro for 96 H. pylori isolates in the gastroesophageal mucosa of Venezuelan individual hosts. E-test for antimicrobial susceptibility test and real-time PCR for the detection of 16S rRNA gene mutations were performed in 96 H. pylori isolates (48 obtained from antrum, and 48 from oesophagus) from eight dyspeptic patients. In the gastric mucosa, 38 isolates were identified sensitive and 10 resistant to tetracycline by E-test, whereas 44 sensitive and 4 resistant isolates were found in the oesophagus. Real-time PCR detection of the 16S rRNA gene exhibited mutants with a single base-pair substitution (AGA926GGA) in six antrum isolates and seven oesophagus isolates, whereas only three harboured a low level of tetracycline resistance in vitro. Our results indicate that real-time PCR detection of 16S rRNA is a reliable method to classify among tetracycline-resistant genotypes and useful in patients who have experienced a first-line treatment failure with triple therapy.
Keywords: 16SrRNAmutations; Helicobacter pylori; gastroesophageal mucosa; tetracycline.