AIMS--To evaluate the prevalence of lymphoid follicles and aggregates in the antral and body mucosa in Helicobacter pylori gastritis and to assess if there were correlations with ulcers in the duodenum, pylorus, or stomach, and with chronic antral erosions. METHODS--Patients (n = 2692) with histologically confirmed H pylori antral gastritis were investigated. These comprised five groups: those with duodenal ulcers; those with pyloric ulcers; those with gastric ulcers; those with chronic erosions; and those with no associated lesions. In 1446 cases at least two additional biopsy specimens from the oxyntic mucosa were available. RESULTS--Lymphoid follicles and aggregates were found in 53.8% of cases in the antral mucosa compared with 14.8% in the oxyntic mucosa (p < 0.001). The various diseases showed significant differences in terms of the prevalence of follicles and aggregates: The highest numbers in the antral mucosa as well as the lowest in the oxyntic mucosa were found in patients with duodenal ulcers (60.5% and 9.2%, respectively). The highest numbers of follicles and aggregates in the oxyntic mucosa occurred in patients with gastric ulcers. CONCLUSIONS--The detection of lymphoid follicles and aggregates in oxyntic mucosa and the higher prevalence in antral mucosa fits well with the distribution of primary gastric lymphomas. This adds further weight to the notion that the development of follicles and aggregates, triggered by H pylori, might be an early precursor to gastric lymphoma. The differences between the groups investigated might be due to different strains of H pylori or differences in the respective sizes of antral and oxyntic mucosa.
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