AIM: To determine whether Helicobacter pylori releases cysteamine into gastric juice as cysteamine is known to be ulcerogenic. METHODS: Samples of fasting gastric juice were collected from 22 individuals (four women); 10 subjects were H pylori negative. The presence of infection was confirmed by examination and culture of gastric biopsies. Cysteamine in gastric juice was measured by reversed phase gradient high performance liquid chromatography with a detection limit of 10 mumol/l. RESULTS: Cysteamine was not detected in any of the gastric juice samples or in extracts of cultured H pylori. CONCLUSIONS: If H pylori produces cysteamine then the amounts produced are insignificant and are unlikely to explain the association between H pylori infection and the development of duodenal ulcer disease.