Identification of Helicobacter pylori and other Helicobacter species by PCR, hybridization, and partial DNA sequencing in human liver samples from patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis or primary biliary cirrhosis

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Helicobacter pylori was identified in human liver tissue by PCR, hybridization, and partial DNA sequencing. Liver biopsies were obtained from patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis (n = 12), primary biliary cirrhosis (n = 12), and noncholestatic liver cirrhosis (n = 13) and (as controls) normal livers (n = 10). PCR analyses were carried out using primers for the Helicobacter genus, Helicobacter pylori (the gene encoding a species-specific 26-kDa protein and the 16S rRNA), Helicobacter bilis, Helicobacter pullorum, and Helicobacter hepaticus. Samples from patients with primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis (11 and 9 samples, respectively) were positive by PCR with Helicobacter genus-specific primers. Of these 20 samples, 8 were positive with the 16S rRNA primer and 9 were positive with the 26-kDa protein primer of H. pylori. These nine latter samples were also positive by Southern blot hybridization for the amplified 26-kDa fragment, and four of those were verified to be H. pylori by partial 16S rDNA sequencing. None of the samples reacted with primers for H. bilis, H. pullorum, or H. hepaticus. None of the normal livers had positive results in the Helicobacter genus PCR assay, and only one patient in the noncholestatic liver cirrhosis group, a young boy who at reexamination showed histological features suggesting primary sclerosing cholangitis, had a positive result in the same assay. Helicobacter positivity was thus significantly more common in patients with cholestatic diseases (20 of 24) than in patients with noncholestatic diseases and normal controls (1 of 23) (P = <0.00001). Patients positive for Helicobacter genus had significantly higher values of alkaline phosphatases and prothrombin complex than Helicobacter-negative patients (P = 0.0001 and P = 0.0003, respectively). Among primary sclerosing cholangitis patients, Helicobacter genus PCR positivity was weakly associated with ulcerative colitis (P = 0.05). Significant differences related to blood group or HLA status were not found.


  • Hans-Olof Nilsson
  • Jalal Taneera
  • Maria Castedal
  • Elisabeth Glatz
  • Rolf Olsson
  • Torkel Wadström
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Microbiology in the medical area
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1072-1076
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Publication categoryResearch

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