Different cellular proteins of the gastric campylobacter-like organism (GCLO) were shown to be immunogenic for man. Antibodies to GCLO were detected in sera by both complement fixation and enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay. Antibody was found in 133 (52%) of 254 patients attending for gastroscopy. There was a high correlation between presence of antibody and a positive GCLO culture from the gastric mucus. Patients with normal endoscopic appearances, duodenal ulcer, duodenitis and oesophagitis had similar prevalences ( 50%) of antibody. Only patients with endoscopically visible gastritis or gastric ulcer had a higher frequency ( 80%) of antibody. In a normal population, antibody was uncommon in individuals <20 years old, but the prevalence of antibody increased (to 50%) with age. There was little evidence to support an important pathological role for GCLO in disorders of the upper gastrointestinal tract, although the possibility that it may be a co-factor in the pathogenesis of gastric ulcer cannot be excluded.


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