Objectives: Helicobacter pylori infection is recognized as a risk factor for gastric adenocarcinoma. "Mitogenesis increases mutagenesis," so the effects of H. pylori infection on the gastric mucosal proliferative compartment have been investigated.
Methods: In 25 H. pylori-positive and 19 H. pylori-negative subjects, epithelial cell proliferative activity and the pattern of the proliferative compartment were separately evaluated in relation to both the different type of mucosa (antrum and corpus) and the H. pylori positivity/negativity after 3H-thymidine labeling.
Results: Both mucosal cell kinetics and the pattern of the proliferative compartment in the antrum appeared different from those of the corpus. Comparing H. pylori-positive and H. pylori-negative subjects, differences were detected only in the total number of cells in the antrum, whereas all of the cell kinetics parameters, except the labeling index, were greater in the corpus of the former group. A superficialization of the proliferative compartment was shown in H. pylori-positive subjects. Changes were more evident in subjects with more severe gastritis but were also present in H. pylori-positive subjects without corpus gastritis.
Conclusions: These results show that H. pylori infection is associated with modifications in the proliferative compartment of the gastric mucosa. Both infection per se and chronic gastritis seem to be relevant for such changes.