Relationship between Helicobacter pylori infection and multiple sclerosis
Background Recent data indicate the presence of immunomodulating properties of Helicobacter pylori (Hp) (Hp Sydney Strain-1 antigen) in an experimental model of multiple sclerosis (MS), and there are limited contradictory epidemiologic data regarding Hp serology in MS patients.
Methods The aim of this prospective, comparative study was to validate the incidence of active Hp infection by histology and the endoscopic abnormalities, in 44 patients with relapsing-remitting MS and 20 anemic controls.
Results The overall prevalence of histologically confirmed active Hp infection in 44 MS patients was 86.4% vs. 50% in 20 matched anemic control participants (P=0.002, odds ratio 6.33, 95%CI 1.85-21.64). Concomitant diseases of autoimmune origin including hypothyroidism and ulcerative colitis were exclusively present in MS patients. Moreover, a trend of increased presence of pathological endoscopic findings such as hiatus hernia, Barrett's esophagus and duodenal ulcer disease was observed in MS patients compared with controls; Barrett's esophagus and duodenal ulcers were exclusively observed in MS patients. Likewise, Hp (+) MS patients showed exclusive presence of hiatus hernia, esophagitis and duodenal ulcer disease compared with Hp (-) MS patients.
Conclusion Hp infection appears to be more frequent in MS patients. If confirmed, this might indicate either a common factor that causes susceptibilities to both MS and Hp infection or that Hp might be a causal factor for developing MS. If a causal link between Hp infection and MS is confirmed in the future, this may have a major impact on the pathophysiology and management of MS.
Keywords Helicobacter pylori, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune disorders, epidemiology, neurodegenerative disorders
Ann Gastroenterol 2015; 28 (3): 351-354