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STUDY: Increased inflammatory responses of persons of blood group O to Helicobacter pylori.
JOURNAL: J Infect Dis 2000 Apr;181(4):1364-9
AUTHORS: Alkout AM, Blackwell CC, Weir DM
ABSTRACT: Persons of blood group O are at increased risk of peptic ulcers. Enhanced binding of Helicobacter pylori to epithelial cells of persons of blood group O has been demonstrated. Isolates from a patient with a duodenal ulcer), from a patient with gastric cancer and from a patient with normal endoscopic findings bound in significantly higher numbers to group O leukocytes. Bacterial binding correlated with release of immune modulators and interleukins. Group O cells released significantly more interleukin 6 and the cells released more Tumor Necrosis Factor. Increased density of colonization of epithelial cells and higher inflammatory responses to H. pylori of persons of blood group O might contribute to increased susceptibility to peptic ulceration.
COMMENTARY: This is a connundrum seen repeatedly in clinical medicine, where a simple notion of pathology is confounded by polymorphic differences such as ABO blood type. In this study the evidence cearly shows that the most common mediators of inflammation, immune response hormones such as Interleukin and Tumor Necrosis Factor, are elevated in type O individuals with H. pylori ulcers over the other ABO blood groups.
Thus, a symptom (stomach ulcers) which can have multiple causes (bacteria, hyperacidity) has individual variations in severity and other characteristics which can be predicted by ABO blood type. Until these characteristics are more widely recognized and factored into clinical considerations, modern medicine will remain behind the other 'pure' sciences, such as physics and chemistry.