Helicobacter pylori infection in the gastric environment displaces other bacteria, altering the microbiome

A recent Austrian study determined that an Helicobacter pylori infection of the stomach causes severe disruption of the gut microbiome. A common pathogenic bacterium, H. pylori will drive out all other bacteria from the stomach and can resist standard antibiotic treatments.

Led by Dr. Christoph Steininger from MedUni Vienna, the research team published their findings in Frontiers of Microbiology.

  • The diversity of the human microbiome affects the health of its host.
  • Bacterial populations breed in the mouth before making their way down to the gastrointestinal system. The acidic environment of the stomach kills harmful bacteria while permitting beneficial microbes to continue towards the intestines. A flourishing gastric microbiome contributes to the diversity of good bacteria found in the gut.
  • The researchers studied H. pylori, a common bacteria that is linked to gastritis and stomach cancer. H. pylori are resistant to standard antibiotics and require alternative methods of treatment.
  • They also discovered that Helicobacter bacteria will drive out other microbes from the stomach. At the highest level of infection, H. pylori become the sole occupant of the gastric microbiome. The loss of diversity in the stomach will disrupt the microbial population in the gut.
  • H. pylori are known to be transferred from person to person. However, its actual method of infection remains an enigma.

The full text of the study can be found here.

Based on the results of their study, the research team recommends that health professionals who are diagnosing and treating pathological changes in the gut microbiome should remain mindful of the possibility of an H. pylori infection in the stomach region.

Journal reference:

Klymiuk I, Bilgilier C, Stadlmann A, Thannesberger J, Kastner M-T, Högenauer C, Püspök A, Biowski-Frotz S, Schrutka-Kölbl C, Thallinger GG, et al. THE HUMAN GASTRIC MICROBIOME IS PREDICATED UPON INFECTION WITH HELICOBACTER PYLORI. Frontiers in Microbiology. 14 December 2017;8. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.02508.
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