The hypothesis that Helicobacter
might be a risk factor for human liver diseases has arisen after the detection of Helicobacter
DNA in hepatic tissue of patients with hepatobiliary diseases. Nevertheless, no explanation that justifies the presence of the bacterium in the human liver has been proposed. We evaluated the presence of Helicobacter
in the liver of patients with hepatic diseases of different aetiologies. We prospectively evaluated 147 patients (106 with primary hepatic diseases and 41 with hepatic metastatic tumours) and 20 liver donors as controls. Helicobacter
species were investigated in the liver by culture and specific 16S rDNA nested-polymerase chain reaction followed by sequencing. Serum and hepatic levels of representative cytokines of T regulatory cell, T helper (Th)1 and Th17 cell lineages were determined using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. The data were evaluated using logistic models. Detection of Helicobacter pylori
DNA in the liver was independently associated with hepatitis B virus/hepatitis C virus, pancreatic carcinoma and a cytokine pattern characterised by high interleukin (IL)-10, low/absent interferon-γ and decreased IL-17A concentrations (p 10-3
The bacterial DNA was never detected in the liver of patients with alcoholic cirrhosis and autoimmune hepatitis that are associated with Th1/Th17 polarisation. H. pylori
may be observed in the liver of patients with certain hepatic and pancreatic diseases, but this might depend on the patient cytokine profile.