The team investigated the relationship between Helicobacter pylori infection and atherosclerotic vascular disease, and reported their findings in this month's issue of Stroke.
38 atherosclerotic plaques, obtained at carotid endarterectomy, were examined for the presence of H. pylori. The researchers used morphological and immunohistochemical techniques to do this, and a highly sensitive polymerase chain reaction method. Immunohistochemical detection of intercellular adhesion molecule-1, a marker related to inflammatory cell response, was performed.
As a control, the team examined seven carotid arteries obtained at autopsy from subjects without carotid atherosclerosis.
The researchers detected the presence of H. pylori DNA in 20 out of 38 atherosclerotic plaques. Morphological and immunohistochemical evidence of H. pylori infection was also shown in 10 of the DNA-positive plaques.
None of the 7 normal carotid arteries were positive for H. pylori.
|Presence of H. pylori DNA:|
Atherosclerotic plaques: 20/38
Normal arteries: 0/7
Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 was expressed in 75% of H. pylori-positive plaques and in 22% of H. pylori-negative plaques.
The presence of the microorganism was found to be associated with male sex, but was independent of age, vascular risk factor profile, and prior neurological symptoms.
From the research, Dr Sebastián F. Ameriso concluded, "H. pylori is present in a substantial number of carotid atherosclerotic lesions and is associated with features of inflammatory cell response. This study provides additional evidence of the relationship between H. pylori infection and atherosclerotic disease."