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PLoS One. 2013 Jul 4;8(7):e68833. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068833. Print 2013.

Iron status and Helicobacter pylori infection in symptomatic children: an international multi-centered study.

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  • 1Laboratory of Research in Bacteriology, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.



Iron deficiency (ID) and iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) are global major public health problems, particularly in developing countries. Whilst an association between H. pylori infection and ID/IDA has been proposed in the literature, currently there is no consensus. We studied the effects of H. pylori infection on ID/IDA in a cohort of children undergoing upper gastrointestinal endoscopy for upper abdominal pain in two developing and one developed country.


In total 311 children (mean age 10.7±3.2 years) from Latin America--Belo Horizonte/Brazil (n = 125), Santiago/Chile (n = 105)--and London/UK (n = 81), were studied. Gastric and duodenal biopsies were obtained for evaluation of histology and H. pylori status and blood samples for parameters of ID/IDA.


The prevalence of H. pylori infection was 27.7% being significantly higher (p<0.001) in Latin America (35%) than in UK (7%). Multiple linear regression models revealed H. pylori infection as a significant predictor of low ferritin and haemoglobin concentrations in children from Latin-America. A negative correlation was observed between MCV (r = -0.26; p = 0.01) and MCH (r = -0.27; p = 0.01) values and the degree of antral chronic inflammation, and between MCH and the degree of corpus chronic (r = -0.29, p = 0.008) and active (r = -0.27, p = 0.002) inflammation.


This study demonstrates that H. pylori infection in children influences the serum ferritin and haemoglobin concentrations, markers of early depletion of iron stores and anaemia respectively.

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