Background: Helicobacter species are associated with inflammatory bowel disease in rodents and in nonhuman primates. Therefore, we prospectively investigated the presence of Helicobacter species in the intestinal mucosa of patients with and without Crohn's disease by culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays.
Materials and Methods: Mucosal fragments were obtained from the ileum, different colon regions, and rectum of 43 patients with Crohn's disease and of 74 patients without inflammatory bowel disease.
Results: Helicobacter pylori strains, identified by 16S rRNA gene sequencing, were more frequently isolated and PCR-detected in the intestinal mucosa of patients with ulcerative colitis-like Crohn's disease than in intestinal mucosa of the control group. Otherwise, anti-H. pylori immunoglobulin G levels were significantly lower in fibrostenosing and fistulating Crohn's disease subgroups. No other Helicobacter species were found in the intestinal mucosa of the patients.
Conclusions: Although our results suggest an association between the presence of H. pylori in the intestine and ulcerative colitis-like phenotype of Crohn's disease, H. pylori infection in the actual causality of Crohn's disease is still to be determined.