Biopsy specimens of gastric and duodenal mucosa from 290 patients were examined histologically for metaplasia and Campylobacter pyloridis. Estimates of pH on samples of fasting gastric juice from 55 of the patients were performed, and mucosal biopsy specimens from 33 patients were also cultured for C pyloridis. Active duodenitis was seen in 34 duodenal biopsy specimens. Thirty (88%) of the patients with active duodenitis had both greater than 5% gastric metaplasia in the duodenal specimen and C pyloridis associated gastritis. These two factors coexisted in only 0.43% of patients with no duodenal inflammation. When C pyloridis were seen histologically in duodenal biopsy specimens they were confined to areas of gastric metaplasia and never occurred in the absence of a polymorph infiltrate. Of the 55 patients with measurements of gastric juice pH, gastric metaplasia was present in the duodenum in 20 of 42 with a pH of less than 2.5, and in 0 of 13 with a pH of greater than 2.5. These results suggest that acid induced gastric metaplasia in the duodenum and C pyloridis associated gastritis may be synergistic in the pathogenesis of duodenitis; the metaplastic gastric epithelium allows C pyloridis to colonise the duodenal mucosa, where it produces an acute inflammatory response.
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