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Decreased level of antibodies against Helicobacter pylori in patients with rheumatoid arthritis receiving intramuscular gold.
  1. M Janssen,
  2. B A Dijkmans,
  3. J P Vandenbroucke,
  4. W van Duijn,
  5. A S Peña,
  6. C B Lamers
  1. Department of Rheumatology, University Hospital, Leiden, The Netherlands.

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND: Sodium aurothiomalate has been reported to have in vitro activity against Helicobacter pylori. Intramuscular gold, as given to patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), may therefore influence the colonisation of the gastric mucosa with H pylori. METHODS: Two groups were compared. One group of 42 patients was treated with intramuscular gold; the other group of 58 patients was treated with antimalarial drugs. Antibodies to H pylori (IgA and IgG) were assessed by an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and total IgA and IgG were measured by nephelometry. RESULTS: IgA and IgG antibody titres against H pylori and total IgA and IgG levels were lower in the patients treated with gold than in the group treated with antimalarial drugs. The ratio of IgA antibodies to H pylori to total IgA antibodies and the ratio of IgG antibodies to H pylori to total IgG antibodies were lower in the group treated with gold. The percentage of seropositivity to H pylori was significantly lower in the group treated with gold than in the group treated with antimalarial drugs for the two IgA antibodies (35 and 55% respectively) and IgG antibodies to H pylori (40 and 65% respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Although this study cannot completely exclude the possibility that a suppressive effect of intramuscular gold on total immunoglobulin production plays a part in the decrease in the titres of IgA antibodies to H pylori and IgG antibodies to H pylori, the lower ratios of antibodies to H pylori to total immunoglobulin antibodies and the lower percentages of seropositivity to H pylori in the group treated with gold suggests that treatment with intramuscular gold decreases H pylori colonisation.

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