The objective of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of antibodies to CagA and VacA proteins and correlate this prevalence with gastric diseases in colonised Chileans. The study was performed in 418 adults colonised with : 316 with gastroduodenal pathology (152 duodenal ulcer, 14 gastric cancer and 150 gastritis patients) and 102 asymptomatic subjects. Serum IgG antibodies to were determined by enzyme immunoassay (EIA). Antibodies to VacA and CagA proteins were detected by Western blotting. In a subgroup of the patients, the vacuolating activity was determined by HeLa cell assay and the CagA product was confirmed by PCR assay. IgG antibodies to both VacA and CagA proteins of were found in 270 (85%) of 316 colonised gastric patients and in 72 (71%) of 102 asymptomatic subjects. Colonisation with virulent strains was significantly higher among duodenal ulcer and gastric cancer patients than in gastritis patients or asymptomatic subjects. Infections with VacA/CagA strains is common in Chile but, in contrast to some Asian countries, this phenotype was more prevalent in isolates from patients with more severe gastric pathologies.


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