A total of 61 human gastric isolates of Helicobacter pylori were studied for their ability to induce an oxidative burst in human neutrophils measured by luminol enhanced chemiluminescence. About one third of the strains induced strong and rapid chemiluminescence in neutrophils even without serum opsonins and agglutinated these cells on glass slides within two minutes. For other strains complement was required, although even then the reactions remained at a lower level. The activating and agglutinating property was bound to the cells, heat labile, and sensitive to several enzymes but resistant to acid. Strains possessing such activity were more common in patients with peptic ulcer disease than in patients with active chronic gastritis only (p = 0.0261, Fisher's exact test, two tailed). The activity shown might be a new indicator for ulcerogenic strains and could also partly explain the accumulation of neutrophils in the gastric mucosa during H pylori infection.
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