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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Hypochlorhydria induced by a proton pump inhibitor leads to intragastric microbial production of acetaldehyde from ethanol.

BACKGROUND: Acetaldehyde, produced locally in the digestive tract, has recently been shown to be carcinogenic in humans. AIM: To examine the effect of iatrogenic hypochlorhydria on intragastric acetaldehyde production from ethanol after a moderate dose of alcohol, and to relate the findings to the changes in gastric flora. METHODS: Eight male volunteers ingested ethanol 0.6 g/kg b.w. The pH, acetaldehyde level and microbial counts of the gastric juice were then determined. The experiment was repeated after 7 days of lansoprazole 30 mg b.d. RESULTS: The mean (+/- S.E.M.) pH of the gastric juice was 1.3 +/- 0.06 and 6.1 +/- 0.5 (P < 0.001) before and after lansoprazole, respectively. This was associated with a marked overgrowth of gastric aerobic and anaerobic bacteria (P < 0. 001), by a 2.5-fold (P=0.003) increase in gastric juice acetaldehyde level after ethanol ingestion, and with a positive correlation (r=0. 90, P < 0.001) between gastric juice acetaldehyde concentration and the count of aerobic bacteria. CONCLUSIONS: Treatment with proton pump inhibitors leads to hypochlorhydria, which associates with intragastric overgrowth of aerobic bacteria and microbially-mediated acetaldehyde production from ethanol. Since acetaldehyde is a local carcinogen in the concentrations found in this study, long-term use of gastric acid secretory inhibitors is a potential risk-factor for gastric and cardiac cancers.[1]


  1. Hypochlorhydria induced by a proton pump inhibitor leads to intragastric microbial production of acetaldehyde from ethanol. Väkeväinen, S., Tillonen, J., Salaspuro, M., Jousimies-Somer, H., Nuutinen, H., Färkkilä, M. Aliment. Pharmacol. Ther. (2000) [Pubmed]
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