Background & aims: Lewis b blood group antigen and antibodies to Lewis b inhibit the binding of stationary-phase Helicobacter pylori organisms to fixed sections of gastric tissue. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of expression of Lewis a and Lewis b on binding of H. pylori to primary gastric cells.
Methods: ABO and Lewis blood types were determined for 13 individuals. Cells were isolated from gastric biopsy specimens by collagenase digestion. Lewis antigen expression and adherence of H. pylori to the cells were quantitated using flow cytometry.
Results: Two of the three nonsecretors were found to express Lewis b on their cells. Nineteen of 19 individuals expressed Lewis a on their cells and 18 of 19 expressed Lewis b. The percentage of cells expressing Lewis antigens varied from individual to individual. H. pylori binding was independent of expression of Lewis antigens. Preincubation of cells with antibodies to Lewis antigens did not inhibit the adherence.
Conclusions: H. pylori adheres to isolated human gastric cells in a manner that is not dependent on Lewis antigen expression on these cells, and expression of Lewis antigens on the surface of gastric cells is not dependent on Lewis antigen expression on erythrocytes.