The human stomach is naturally colonized by Helicobacter pylori, which, when present, dominates the gastric bacterial community. In this study, we aimed to characterize the structure of the bacterial community in the stomach of patients of differing H. pylori status. We used a high-density 16S rRNA gene microarray (PhyloChip, Affymetrix, Inc.) to hybridize 16S rRNA gene amplicons from gastric biopsy DNA of 10 rural Amerindian patients from Amazonas, Venezuela, and of two immigrants to the United States (from South Asia and Africa, respectively). H. pylori status was determined by PCR amplification of H. pylori glmM from gastric biopsy samples. Of the 12 patients, 8 (6 of the 10 Amerindians and the 2 non-Amerindians) were H. pylori glmM positive. Regardless of H. pylori status, the PhyloChip detected Helicobacteriaceae DNA in all patients, although with lower relative abundance in patients who were glmM negative. The G2-chip taxonomy analysis of PhyloChip data indicated the presence of 44 bacterial phyla (of which 16 are unclassified by the Taxonomic Outline of the Bacteria and Archaea taxonomy) in a highly uneven community dominated by only four phyla: Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria and Bacteroidetes. Positive H. pylori status was associated with increased relative abundance of non-Helicobacter bacteria from the Proteobacteria, Spirochetes and Acidobacteria, and with decreased abundance of Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. The PhyloChip detected richness of low abundance phyla, and showed marked differences in the structure of the gastric bacterial community according to H. pylori status
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