Background: Mutation of the p53 gene is detectable in most cases of gastric cancer, as it is the most common genetic alteration in human malignancies. It is also well documented that Helicobacter pylori infection plays an important role in gastric carcinogenesis. There is still no clarification, however, concerning how genetic instability influences the homeostasis of gastric epithelium. We have studied the effect of H. pylori infection on apoptosis of the antral epithelium in the presence/absence of intestinal metaplasia and the expression of the p53 oncoprotein. The relationship between these two processes is analysed. Methods: Antral biopsies were taken from 36 patients who underwent routine upper endoscopy (17 men, 19 women, mean age 61.0 years). The biopsies were fixed in formalin and embedded in paraffin. Patients were classified into two histological groups: (1) as chronic gastritis without intestinal metaplasia (n = 19), and (2) chronic gastritis with intestinal metaplasia (n = 17). An immunohistochemical method was used to detect the expression of p53 oncoprotein, and the terminal transferase mediated dUTP nick end-labelling (TUNEL) method was used to detect apoptotic cells. Results: In the absence of intestinal metaplasia, both the apoptotic index (0.0272 ± 0.011 vs 0.0128 ± 0.006) and expresssion of p53 (35.55 ± 31.16 vs 18.33 ± 19.65) were significantly higher in H. pylori positive cases compared to H. pylori negative cases. In the presence of intestinal metaplasia, p53 expression was further increased (P < 0.05), but apoptosis was similar to that observed in H. pylori negative gastritis without intestinal metaplasia. In the presence of intestinal metaplasia, H. pylori infection did not influence apoptosis (0.013 ± 0.004 vs 0.011 ± 0.004), or p53 ratio (70.16 ± 22.54 vs 68.50 ± 28.96). In the sequence of gastritis-intestinal metaplasia the two indices show a close negative correlation (P < 0.05). Conclusion: In the absence of intestinal metaplasia H. pylori infection increases both apoptotic activity and expression of p53 oncoprotein in the gastric mucosa. The lack of increased apoptosis with a higher p53 expression in the presence of intestinal metaplasia suggests an increased genetic instability and also may suggest that mutation of the p53 gene is an early step in the multistep process of gastric carcinogenesis.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 1 2003|
- Helicobacter pylori infection
- Intestinal metaplasia
- p53 oncoprotein
ASJC Scopus subject areas