, Volume 433, Issue 5, pp 419-426

Helicobacter pylori infection produces reversible glycosylation changes to gastric mucins

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 The protective ability of gastric mucins may depend largely on their oligosaccharide chains. We evaluated the effects of H. pylori infection on the glycosylation of gastric mucins. Gastric biopsy specimens from 20 H. pylori-infected patients before and after cure of the H. pylori infection and 8 normal uninfected volunteers were examined by immunostaining for simple mucin-type glycoproteins and blood-group-related antigens bearing type 1 chain backbone. The immunoreactivity in different gastric compartments was evaluated. Simple mucin-type glycoproteins and blood-group-related antigens were expressed in surface mucous cells. Simple mucin-type glycoproteins showed antrum-predominant expression in normal volunteers and were found in significantly fewer surface mucous cells in infected patients than in normal volunteers; their expression was restored after eradication of H. pylori. Sialyl Lewisa and Lewisb were expressed in fewer surface mucous cells after than before eradication. The patterns of glycosylation of gastric mucins vary in different gastric compartments and are reversibly altered by H. pylori infection. These alterations may affect the protective functions of gastric mucins.

Received: 23 April 1998 / Accepted: 2 July 1998