Gene mutation protects against stomach bacteria

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Helicobacter pylori as a cause of gastritis and cancer

Stomach pain, flatulence, nausea and vomiting - what almost everyone suffers from does not always have to be related to incorrect eating or stress. Instead, there may also be an infection with the Helicobacter pylori bacterium - one of the most common germs in the world that can colonize the human stomach. The Helicobacter pylori is not without danger, because it is considered "one of the main causes of gastritis, gastroduodenal ulcer disease and can also cause cancer", as a team of German and Dutch researchers wrote in the "Journal of the American Medical Association" (JAMA).

One of the most common germs in the world
With a prevalence or disease frequency of around 50% worldwide, Helicobacter pylori infection is one of the most common chronic bacterial infections, with the infection rate in developing countries being much higher than in industrialized countries. But why does one get sick while other people's stomachs are never colonized with Helicobacter pylori even though they live in countries with high transmission rates? Two working groups from Greifswald (Germany) and Rotterdam (Netherlands) have now devoted themselves to this question and have achieved interesting results with "10,938 cases in total" thanks to "two independent genome-wide association studies and a subsequent meta-analysis".

Genetic modification in the TLR1 gene reduces the risk of infection. The researchers identified the gene that is crucial for whether Helicobacter pylori can bind to the mucous membrane in the stomach and thus infect an individual. In subjects who were not infected, there would have been "more often a genetic change in the TLR1 gene (Toll like Receptor 1)", "which plays an essential role in innate immunity," according to a message from the University of Greifswald. The reason: "An amino acid exchange in the extracellular domain of TLR1 leads to a lower binding capacity for triacetylated lipopeptides, a component of the bacterial membrane of Helicobacter pylori," the university continues. This amino acid exchange in the TLR1 gene would reduce the risk of Helicobacter pylori infection by 41 percent.

The researchers' work represents a “milestone” in the research of the Helicobacter pylori. In the context of a subsequent expression analysis from the whole blood of the participating test subjects, the research team also had “a direct dependency of the TRL1 expression on the quantitative detection of Helicobacter pylori in the test subject's stool” be able to show. Now, however, further research should prove whether TLR1 is actually the direct binding partner for Helicobacter pylori in the stomach or whether other factors could have an influence, writes the university. Nevertheless, the work of the two research groups claims to be "a milestone in the research of Helicobacter pylori", because on the one hand it can partly explain why the discoverer of Helicobacter pylori - Professor Berry Marshall - after a self-experiment to prove the clinical significance the bacterium had never developed antibodies against the bacterium itself, on the other hand, the findings "would also be of great importance for the development of future vaccination strategies against Helicobacter pylori", the message continued.

Bacterium discovered by two Australian researchers in 1982 Helicobacter pylori is a spiral-shaped bacterium that was discovered by Australian researchers Barry Marshall and John Robin Warren in 1982 - and was not honored until 2005 when she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for her discovery were. They found that Helicobacter pylori can cause inflammation of the stomach and can be responsible for ulcers in the stomach and duodenum. Furthermore, it is known today that Helicobacter pylori is also responsible for the development of stomach cancer and, according to the University of Greifswald, "the only one recognized by the World Health Organization Bacteria that can definitely cause cancer. ”The gastric germ can lead to very different symptoms such as loss of appetite, stomach pain, feeling of pressure, nausea and vomiting or a bad taste in the mouth. Because the complaints are often diffuse, many infected people do not notice the germ, so that it sometimes remains undetected as the cause of the complaints for years. In developing countries, the infection rate in the population is sometimes up to 90 percent. (No)

Image: Angela Bausch /

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Video: Microbiome and Autoimmunity:What we need to know


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