Scientists from the Gastrointestinal Unit at the Federico II University of Naples, in Italy, have investigated whether Helicobacter pylori affects iron absorption.
Infection with H pylori is recognized as a major risk factor for chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer disease and gastric cancer and the association between H. pylori infection and iron deficiency anemia has been established.
Multiple mechanisms have been advocated to explain the relationship between H. pylori and iron status and their association might reduce iron deposit.
C. Ciacci and colleagues carried out their study on a prospective basis, looking at 55 subjects.
All subjects underwent upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and biopsy to investigate the presence of H. pylori and when this was positive, a search of serum adnti-CagA was also performed.
|H. pylori infection impairs iron uptake|
|Digestive and Liver Disease|
Each patient was also underwent an oral iron absorption test with the administration of 1 mg/kg of Fe2+.
Iron levels were then measured before and 2 hours after iron administration (delta iron).
H. pylori-positive subjects were administered antibiotic therapy for 1 week and, 2 months later, the oral iron absorption test was repeated and urea-breath test was first performed.
Analysis of results from the study showed that H. pylori-positive patients had lower serum levels of ferritin and lower delta iron compared to H. pylori-negative subjects.
This difference was significant in anemic women and is independent of the presence of serum anti-CagA antibodies.
After H. pylori eradication iron absorption test was similar to those of non-infected subjects.
Dr Ciacci concluded,"H. pylori infection impairs iron uptake. That mechanism, together with others, may contribute to the depletion of iron in infected patients."