Relation of lactoferrin levels in gastric mucosa with Helicobacter pylori infection and with the degree of gastric inflammation.

Nakao K, Imoto I, Ikemura N, Shibata T, Takaji S, Taguchi Y, Misaki M, Yamauchi K, Yamazaki N Am J Gastroenterol 1997 Jun 92:1005-11

Am J Gastroenterol • Volume 92 • Issue 6



Lactoferrin (Lf) is an iron-binding glycoprotein present in milk, lacrimae, saliva, and gastroduodenal secretions. In vitro studies disclosed contradicting results regarding the relation of Lf with Helicobacter pylori (HP) infection. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between the gastric mucosal concentration of Lf and HP infection of the stomach.

The relationship of the gastric mucosal level of Lf with the gastric mucosal concentration of interleukin-8 (IL-8) and with the intragastric ammonia levels was also assessed. In addition, the gastric mucosal Lf levels before and after irradication of HP infection were also evaluated. METHODS: This study was composed of 27 HP-positive and 12 HP-negative patients with chronic gastritis.

Gastric mucosal biopsy specimens were obtained from all subjects by endoscopy, and the degree of histological inflammatory changes were assessed according to the Sydney system. The gastric mucosal levels of Lf and IL-8 were measured by immunoassays. Assessment of the effect of therapy on the gastric mucosal level of Lf was performed in 10 patients with HP-associated duodenal ulcer. RESULTS: Lf, IL-8, and ammonia levels were significantly higher in patients with HP-positive gastritis compared with those with HP-negative gastritis in both the antrum and the gastric body. Histologically, the degree of inflammatory changes correlated significantly with the Lf levels in the gastric mucosa.

Furthermore, the degree of HP colonization was more significant in biopsy samples from the antrum than in those from the corpus of the stomach. The gastric mucosal levels of Lf and IL-8 correlated significantly in the antrum and the gastric body.

The ammonia intragastric level significantly correlated with the mucosal Lf level in the antrum and in the gastric body. Therapy significantly decreased the Lf levels in the gastric mucosa of the antrum (p &ls; 0.005) and the gastric body (p &ls; 0.005). CONCLUSION: The results of the present investigation showed, for the first time in vivo, that Lf concentration is increased in the biopsy specimens of patients with HP-related gastritis, and that the levels of Lf correlate significantly with the degree of inflammation of the gastric mucosa. The gastric mucosal level of Lf may constitute an excellent marker of HP infection.


Author Address

Third Department of Internal Medicine, Mie University School of Medicine, the National Tsu Hospital, Japan.

Word Count: 398 Words