Serologic IgG response to urease in Helicobacter pylori-infected persons from Mexico.

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  • 1 Unidad de Investigación Médica en Enfermedades Infecciosas, Coordinación de Investigación, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Mexico City.

Helicobacter pylori urease is required to counteract acidity during colonization of the stomach, and has been suggested as a major immunodominant antigen. The aim of this study was to determine the anti-urease response in a representative national serologic survey in Mexico. The population surveyed included persons 1-90 years of age from all socioeconomic levels and geographic zones of the country. Helicobacter pylori status was determined by ELISA serology. The IgG anti-urease was studied by ELISA using a recombinant apoenzyme. We found that 2,930 of the 7,720 infected patients (38%) were seropositive for IgG urease. The rate of IgG anti-urease positivity increased with age; in children < 10 years old it was < 20% and in persons > 40 years old it was > 50%. Age and a region with a high level of development were risk factors for seropositivity, whereas gender, educational level, crowding, and socioeconomic level were not associated with seropositivity. In conclusion, in natural infection with H. pylori, the response to urease is poor, mainly during the first years of infection. This inconsistent immune response to the enzyme may favor persistence of infection. A vaccine eliciting a consistent anti-urease response might overcome immune evasion and enhance clearance of bacteria after exposure.