Seroconversion for Helicobacter pylori

Lancet. 1993 Aug 7;342(8867):328-31. doi: 10.1016/0140-6736(93)91473-y.


The prevalence of Helicobacter pylori antibodies increases with age, but it is unknown whether this is due to a constant rate of infection in different age groups, or whether most infection occurs in childhood. Follow-up data on infection rates and the course of infection in an untreated population are scarce. We measured H pylori IgG antibody concentrations in patients who were seen at our endoscopy unit between 1979 and 1983. 115 of 164 eligible patients (70%) participated in the study. H pylori IgG antibody concentrations were measured in two serum samples taken with a mean interval of 11.5 years. 56 patients tested positive at the first visit. During follow-up, 2 patients became infected (annual infection rate 0.30%, 95% Cl 0.04-1.08%). Evidence of infection disappeared in 6 patients: after gastric surgery in 3 and due to an unknown cause in the remaining 3 patients. A non-significant decrease of infection was shown in different age cohorts during follow-up. Antibody concentrations did not increase with age. These results strongly support the concept of dominant infection rates in childhood. Elimination of infection may occur in a few patients without eradication therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Gastritis / epidemiology*
  • Gastritis / immunology*
  • Gastritis / microbiology
  • Gastroscopy
  • Helicobacter Infections / epidemiology*
  • Helicobacter Infections / immunology*
  • Helicobacter pylori / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Immunoglobulin G