To explore the relationship between motility, morphology and phase of growth, bacteria were isolated from antral biopsies of patients with duodenal ulcer or non-ulcer dyspepsia, and grown in liquid medium in batch and continuous culture systems. Motilities and morphologies of in different phases of growth were examined with a Hobson BackTracker and by transmission electron microscopy. Morphologies of bacteria grown were also compared with those of bacteria in antral biopsies from patients with non-autoimmune gastritis. had poor motility in lag phase, became highly motile in mid-exponential phase and lost motility in the decline phase of growth. Motilities of bacteria in the same phase of growth from patients with duodenal ulcer or non-ulcer dyspepsia were not significantly different. In the mid/late-exponential phase of growth bacteria had helical morphologies and multiple polar flagella, typical of in the gastric mucus layer. In the decline phase of growth bacteria shed flagella, and had precoccoidal or coccoidal morphologies. These findings support the view that helical and coccoidal are in different phases of growth with different roles in gastric colonization, indicate that bacterial motility per se is unlikely to be a determinant of pathology, and suggest that in the antral mucus layer is in a state of continuous (exponential phase) growth.


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