The 2 major recognized forms of atrophic gastritis are autoimmune and environmental atrophic gastritis. These differ in their topographical distribution in the stomach, histologic features, and etiology. Autoimmune atrophic gastritis results from immune-mediated destruction of specialized oxyntic glands, is restricted to the body and fundus, and shows characteristic neuroendocrine hyperplasia. Environmental atrophic gastritis is associated with long-standing Helicobacter pylori infection and preferentially involves antrum and transition zone mucosa. In this study, we describe a distinctive form of atrophic gastritis that differs markedly from both of these classic variants. This gastritis is characterized by: (1) intense mucosal inflammatory infiltrates, persisting even into the phase of severe glandular atrophy, (2) pangastric distribution with diffuse involvement of both body and antrum, (3) lack of association with H. pylori, and (4) lack of neuroendocrine hyperplasia. The 8 patients presented ranged from 1 to 75 years and showed a slight female predominance (5F:3M). All had systemic autoimmune and/or connective tissue diseases including autoimmune enterocolitis (4 cases), systemic lupus erythematosus, refractory sprue, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, and disabling fibromyalgia. Positive serum autoimmune markers were documented in 7 of 8 (87%) patients, but serologies for antiparietal cell and anti-intrinsic factor antibodies were undertaken in only 1 patient each and were negative. We propose that the distinctive histology of this form of atrophic pangastritis and its association with systemic autoimmune disease suggests an autoimmune process directed against multiple cell lineages in the stomach. The development of multifocal low-grade dysplasia in 1 patient, a 19-year-old woman, suggests that this condition might have neoplastic potential.
Departments of *Pathology
‡Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
†Department of Pathology, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD
§Hospital Pathology Associates, P.A., Abbott NW Hospital, Minneapolis, MN
Reprints: Susan C. Abraham, MD, Department of Pathology, Hilton 11, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).