Helicobacter pylori serology in autoimmune diseases - fact or fiction?
Ram M, Barzilai O, Shapira Y, Anaya JM, Tincani A, Stojanovich L, Bombardieri S, Bizzaro N, Kivity S, Levin NA, Shoenfeld Y.
Abstract Background: The pathogenesis of autoimmunity is presumed to be a complex process including genetic predisposition, hormonal balance and environmental factors such as infectious agents. Helicobacter pylori, a common bacterial infectious agent has been associated with a variety of autoimmune disorders. However, this bacteria is also thought to play a protective role in the development of multiple sclerosis (MS), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). We tested various links between anti-H. pylori (anti-HP) antibodies and a wide profile of autoimmune diseases and autoantibodies.
Methods: A total of 1290 patients diagnosed with 14 different autoimmune diseases from two geographical areas (Europe and Latin America) and two groups of healthy matching controls (n=385) were screened for the presence of H. pylori IgG antibodies by "pylori detect" kit. In parallel, a large profile belonging to three groups of autoantibodies was tested in all sera (anti-nuclear antibodies, autoantibodies associated with thrombophilia and gastrointestinal diseases).
Results: Our data demonstrate associations between anti-HP antibodies and anti-phospholipid syndrome, giant cell arteritis, systemic sclerosis and primary biliary cirrhosis. Our data also support a previously known negative association between the prevalence of anti-HP antibodies and IBD. Additionally, links were made between seropositivity to H. pylori and the presence of anti-nuclear antibodies, dsDNA, anti-Ro and some thrombophilia-associated antibodies, as well as negative associations with gastrointestinal-associated antibodies.
Conclusions: Whether these links are epiphenomenal or H. pylori does play a causative role in the autoimmune diseases remains uncertain. The negative associations could possibly support the notion that in susceptible individuals infections may protect from the development of autoimmune diseases.
Labels: anti-HP antibodies, autoimmune diseases, genetic predisposition, giant cell arteritis, Helicobacter pylori serology, infectious agents, phospholipid syndrome, primary biliary cirrhosis, systemic sclerosis