Diagnostic value of decreasing IgG, IgA, and IgM antibody titres after eradication of Helicobacter pylori

Lancet. 1992 Apr 11;339(8798):893-5. doi: 10.1016/0140-6736(92)90929-w.


Titres of antibody to Helicobacter pylori are known to fall with eradication of bacteria. To find out what degree of fall would reliably indicate eradication, 144 patients with Helicobacter pylori infection were given antimicrobial therapy for 2 weeks and then followed up at 6 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months with serological tests, bacterial cultures, and histological studies of gastric specimens. 6 weeks after treatment IgG titres had fallen by 20-30% irrespective of the success of bacterial eradication. In the 121 bacteria-negative patients the decrease continued. 6 and 12 months after treatment the titre was 50% or less of pretreatment value in 97% of these patients. In the 23 patients who remained infected, the initial drop of IgG titres, if any, was followed by unchanged or slightly rising titres. IgA and IgM titres, initially raised in 64% and 4% of the patients, respectively, showed similar trends. The high sensitivity (97%) of the IgG antibody tests and a consistent fall within 6 months after eradication of H pylori infection made IgG the most useful immunoglobulin class for follow-up of antimicrobial therapy in individual patients. IgA antibodies were valuable in the 2% patients who had raised titres in this immunoglobulin class only. The few patients (5.5%) who had raised IgM titres also had high IgG titres. Serological tests thus are a cheap and reliable means of monitoring success of eradication of H pylori.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / analysis*
  • Female
  • Gastritis / immunology
  • Gastritis / microbiology
  • Helicobacter Infections / drug therapy*
  • Helicobacter Infections / immunology
  • Helicobacter pylori / drug effects*
  • Helicobacter pylori / immunology
  • Helicobacter pylori / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / analysis*
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis*
  • Immunoglobulin M / analysis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M