Paradoxical association between dyspepsia and autoimmune chronic atrophic gastritis: Insights into mechanisms, pathophysiology, and treatment options

World J Gastroenterol. 2023 Jun 21;29(23):3733-3747. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v29.i23.3733.


Background: Autoimmune gastritis (AIG) is a progressive, chronic, immune-mediated inflammatory disease characterized by the destruction of gastric parietal cells leading to hypo/anacidity and loss of intrinsic factor. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as dyspepsia and early satiety are very common, being second in terms of frequency only to anemia, which is the most typical feature of AIG.

Aim: To address both well-established and more innovative information and knowledge about this challenging disorder.

Methods: An extensive bibliographical search was performed in PubMed to identify guidelines and primary literature (retrospective and prospective studies, systematic reviews, case series) published in the last 10 years.

Results: A total of 125 records were reviewed and 80 were defined as fulfilling the criteria.

Conclusion: AIG can cause a range of clinical manifestations, including dyspepsia. The pathophysiology of dyspepsia in AIG is complex and involves changes in acid secretion, gastric motility, hormone signaling, and gut microbiota, among other factors. Managing dyspeptic symptoms of AIG is challenging and there are no specific therapies targeting dyspepsia in AIG. While proton pump inhibitors are commonly used to treat dyspepsia and gastroesophageal reflux disease, they may not be appropriate for AIG. Prokinetic agents, antidepressant drugs, and non-pharmacological treatments may be of help, even if not adequately evidence-based supported. A multidisciplinary approach for the management of dyspepsia in AIG is recommended, and further research is needed to develop and validate more effective therapies for dyspepsia.

Keywords: Autoimmune gastritis; Chronic autoimmune atrophic gastritis; Dyspepsia; Dyspeptic symptoms; Gastro-intestinal symptoms; Treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases* / complications
  • Autoimmune Diseases* / therapy
  • Dyspepsia* / drug therapy
  • Dyspepsia* / therapy
  • Gastritis* / complications
  • Gastritis* / therapy
  • Gastritis, Atrophic* / complications
  • Gastritis, Atrophic* / diagnosis
  • Gastritis, Atrophic* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Precancerous Conditions*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies