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Atherosclerosis. 1999 Jan;142(1):207-10.

Association of Helicobacter pylori infection with elevated serum lipids.

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National Public Health Institute Department, Oulu, Finland.


Helicobacter pylori causes a chronic gastric infection, which has been associated with coronary heart disease. To evaluate the mechanisms of this association, we studied whether the infection affects serum lipid levels as previously shown in acute infections. We analysed the serum samples of 880 males who participated in a reindeer herders' health survey in Northern Finland in 1989. H. pylori IgG and IgA antibodies were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and triglyceride, total cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations by routine enzymatic methods. A total of 52% of the subjects were positive for both H. pylori specific IgG and IgA and 31% were antibody-negative. The serum triglyceride and total cholesterol concentrations were significantly higher in the males with positive IgG and IgA antibody titres for H. pylori than in the males with no signs of infection (1.20 vs. 1.03 mmol/l, P < 0.001 and 6.59 vs. 6.11 mmol/l, P < 0.001, respectively). The associations remained statistically significant in non-smokers after the adjustment for age, body mass index (BMI) and social class. The finding supports the hypothesis that chronic infections may modify the serum lipid profile in a way that increases the risk of atherosclerosis.

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