Dr Guariso and colleagues from Padua in Italy undertook a study to compare the prevalence of organ-specific autoantibodies in a group of Helicobacter pylori infected children and a group of uninfected children.
The researchers investigated the relationship between the presence of relevant autoantibodies and the status of the target organs.
In total, the research team recruited 124 children with dyspepsia (54 boys, 70 girls; mean age 10.5 years) who underwent gastroscopy.
The investigators found that 56 had H. pylori infection (31 girls, 25 boys), while 68 (37 girls and 31 boys), were H. pylori-negative.
The researchers tested all sera for the presence of variety of autoantibodies including: parietal cell autoantibodies (PCA), intrinsic factor autoantibodies (IFA), microsomial autoantibodies and thyroglobulin autoantibodies,
| Presence of autoantibodies was not associated with any clinical or biohumoral signs of disease|
The research team also included tests for islet cell autoantibodies, glutamic acid decarboxylase autoantibodies, adrenal cortex autoantibodies, steroid-producing cell autoantibodies; gastrin, pepsinogen A, pepsinogen C and anti-H. pylori antibodies.
In addition, the team also considered the histological features and the ureA and cagA genes.
The researchers found that the frequency of organ-specific autoantibodies was higher in patients with H. pylori infection than in uninfected patients.
Specifically, they found that gastric autoantibodies were significantly higher: 7 of the 56 H. pylori-positive children were PCA-positive and one was IFA-positive.
The researchers noted that the presence of autoantibodies was not associated with any clinical or biohumoral signs of disease.
Dr Guariso concluded, "Our study detected a relationship between H. pylori infection in childhood and the presence of organ-specific autoantibodies unassociated with any clinical or biohumoral signs of disease."
"Helicobacter pylori infection in childhood could trigger the onset of clinical autoimmune gastritis, and/or other clinical autoimmune diseases."