Helicobacter pylori infection is associated with complex alterations of the gastric physiology in patients with ulcer disease or functional dyspepsia. We aimed at evaluating whether H. pylori infection is accompanied by changes in interdigestive and postprandial gastrointestinal motility, exocrine pancreatic secretion or hormone release in asymptomatic subjects.
Nineteen healthy men (age range 26-35 years) were studied after 12 h fasting. Motor activity was recorded for a complete motor migrating complex cycle and two postprandial hours. Pancreatic enzyme secretion was evaluated using a standard duodenal perfusion technique. Plasma concentrations of gastrin, PP and motilin were determined at 15-min intervals. H. pylori infection was proved by serology and 13C-urea breath test.
Eight subjects (42%) were H. pylori positive. Interdigestive and postprandial gastrointestinal motility were similar in H. pylori positive and negative subjects. Interdigestive pancreatic secretion was increased in H. pylori positive subjects (P < 0.05). Postprandial pancreatic secretion tended also to be higher in H. pylori positive subjects. H. pylori infection was associated with an increased postprandial release of gastrin (P < 0.05) as well as with a slight increase of interdigestive gastrin release. The release of PP and motilin, as well as the interdigestive coordination between gastrointestinal motility, pancreatic secretion and hormone release, was not altered by H. pylori infection.
H. pylori infection in asymptomatic subjects is associated with changes not only in gastric physiology but also in pancreatic function. This first reported link between H. pylori and the pancreas could have pathophysiological implications in pancreatic diseases and therefore deserves further study.