What is the relationship between H pylori gastritis and duodenal ulceration?

Updated: Apr 26, 2021
  • Author: BS Anand, MD; Chief Editor: Philip O Katz, MD, FACP, FACG  more...
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When H pylori colonizes the gastric mucosa, inflammation usually results. The causal association between H pylori gastritis and duodenal ulceration is now well established in the adult and pediatric literature. In patients infected with H pylori, high levels of gastrin and pepsinogen and reduced levels of somatostatin have been measured. In infected patients, exposure of the duodenum to acid is increased. Virulence factors produced by H pylori, including urease, catalase, vacuolating cytotoxin, and lipopolysaccharide, are well described.

Most patients with duodenal ulcers have impaired duodenal bicarbonate secretion, which has also proven to be caused by H pylori because its eradication reverses the defect. [5] The combination of increased gastric acid secretion and reduced duodenal bicarbonate secretion lowers the pH in the duodenum, which promotes the development of gastric metaplasia (ie, the presence of gastric epithelium in the first portion of the duodenum). H pylori infection in areas of gastric metaplasia induces duodenitis and enhances the susceptibility to acid injury, thereby predisposing to duodenal ulcers. Duodenal colonization by H pylori was found to be a highly significant predictor of subsequent development of duodenal ulcers in one study that followed 181 patients with endoscopy-negative, nonulcer dyspepsia. [6]

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