Helicobacter pylori is chiefly acquired in childhood, but the exact timing of acquisition is not well understood. The main goal of this study was to assess H. pylori acquisition in a pediatric population. We studied two cohorts of Native American children: a birth cohort of 50 children and 58 older children (mean age, 53 months). We measured serum immunoglobulin G (IgG), IgM, and IgA antibodies to H. pylori whole-cell antigen and IgG antibodies to CagA. Among 44 birth cohort children monitored for more than 12 months, 24 (54.5%) had seroconversions, 7 (15.9%) were transient, and 17 (38.6%) were persistent. Among the older children, 49 (84.5%) of the 58 children were monitored for 1 year; 34 (69.4%) had H. pylori antibodies at study entry. During the next year, 7 (20.6%) children seroreverted, and of 15 initially negative children, 5 (33.3%) seroconverted. In both groups, evaluation of CagA antibodies increased the sensitivity of H. pylori detection. Serum pepsinogen I (PGI) levels in H. pylori-negative children rose significantly until age 6 months and remained constant for the next 19 months. At the time of H. pylori seroconversion, PGI peaked to levels significantly higher than in the never-seroconverted (P = 0.02) and the pre-seroconverted (P = 0.03) children, but then declined to levels paralleling those of H. pylori-negative children. Thus, H. pylori acquisition, accompanied by a transient PGI increase, was frequent in this population, especially in the second and third years of life, but often was brief.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)