Almost half of the world's population suffer from the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, but only some individuals develop gastric diseases with clinical symptoms. One reason for the phenomenon may be the different pathogenicity of infected H. pylori strains. The presence of cytotoxin-associated gene A (cagA) and expression of vacuolating cytotoxin activity encoded by vacuolating cytotoxin gene A (vacA) are considered the two major virulent markers of H. pylori. The aim of this study was to detect dominant cagA/vacA genotypes and coinfection frequency of H. pylori in patients with peptic ulceration (PU) or chronic gastritis (CG), and to determine correlations among different cagA/vacA genotypes, coinfection and severity of the diseases.
For each of 139 patients in Zhejiang Province who had been diagnosed as PU or CG based on clinical symptoms and gastroscopy, two gastric biopsy specimens (one from antrum and the other from corpus) for H. pylori isolation were taken by two different disinfected biopsy forceps. One hundred and fifty-six H. pylori strains were isolated from both the antrum and corpus biopsy specimens of 78 patients (36 PU and 42 CG). PCRs were performed to detect cagA genes, and signal (s) and middle (m) regions of vacA genes in the H. pylori isolates. The amplified fragments of dominant vacA gene s and m subtypes from representative H. pylori isolates were sequenced after TA cloning. Dominant cagA/vacA genotypes of the H. pylori isolates, coinfection frequency and correlations among the different genotypes, coinfection and severity of the diseases were determined.
Of the H. pylori strains isolated from the antrum specimens, 96.2% were cagA gene positive, as were 97.4% of the H. pylori strains isolated from the corpus specimens. Only one s region subtype (s1a) and four m region subtypes m1, m2, m1b and m1b-m2 of vacA gene were found. The proportions of vacA gene subtypes s1a/m1, s1a/m2, s1a/m1b and s1a/m1b-m2 in the 83 strains isolated from the antrum specimens were 7.2%, 61.5%, 30.1% and 1.2%, respectively, while those in the other 84 strains isolated from the corpus specimens were 9.5%, 58.3%, 28.6% and 3.6%, respectively. s1a/m2 (58.3% vs 30.1%, chi(2) = 13.47, P < 0.01) and then s1a/m1b (28.6% vs 9.5%, chi(2) = 9.88, P < 0.01) were the dominant vacA gene subtypes in the H. pylori isolates. The dominant H. pylori genotype was cagA + s1a/m2 (59.0% from antrum specimens and 57.1% from corpus specimens), and followed by cagA + s1a/m1b (28.9% from antrum specimens and 27.4% from corpus specimens). Sixteen of 78 patients (20.5%) were infected with two or three H. pylori strains with different genotypes. However, no statistically significant differences among cagA occurrence, the different vacA subtypes and PU or CG could be found (each P > 0.05). Similarities of the nucleotide sequences from vacA gene s region PCR products of six isolates and from vacA gene m region PCR products of four isolates were 93.2% to 98.3% and 93.8% to 97.6%, respectively, compared to the reported corresponding sequences.
The dominant genotypes of H. pylori in PU or CG patients in Zhejiang area may be cagA + s1a/m2 and cagA + s1a/m1b. Numerous coinfections with different H. pylori strains in PU or CG patients indicate diversity of the infected H. pylori origins. s and m regions of vacA gene from different H. pylori isolates show high nucleotide sequence similarities. cagA gene positive rate, different vacA gene subtypes and coinfection with different H. pylori strains are not closely associated with severity of the diseases.