Helicobacter pylori and the intestinal microbiome among healthy school-age children

Yelena Lapidot, Leah Reshef, Dani Cohen, Khitam Muhsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection is acquired during childhood and causes chronic gastritis that remains asymptomatic in most infected people. H. pylori alters the gastric microbiota and causes peptic ulcer disease. Evidence on the relationship between asymptomatic H. pylori infection and children's gut microbiota remains elusive. Aim: We characterized the relationship between H. pylori infection and the intestinal microbiome of healthy children, adjusting for known inter-personal and environmental exposures. Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study included stool samples obtained from 163 Israeli Arab children aged 6–9 years from different socioeconomic strata. Sociodemographic information was collected through maternal interviews. H. pylori infection was determined using monoclonal antigen detection stool enzyme immunoassay. The gut microbiome was characterized by implementing 16S rRNA gene sequencing of the V4 region and a multivariate downstream analysis. Results: Overall, 57% of the participants were positive for H. pylori infection and it was significantly associated with low socioeconomic status. There was no significant association between H. pylori infection and bacterial richness of fecal microbiome. H. pylori infection was significantly associated with intestinal bacterial composition, including a strong association with Prevotella copri and Eubacterium biforme. Moreover, socioeconomic status was strongly associated with bacterial composition. Discussion and Conclusions: H. pylori infection in healthy children was significantly associated with altered intestinal microbiome structure. Socioeconomic determinants exhibit a strong effect, related to both H. pylori infection and intestinal diversity and composition in childhood. These findings are clinically important to the understanding of the role of H. pylori infection and other intestinal microbes in health and disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12854
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Helicobacter pylori
  • childhood
  • gut microbiome
  • socioeconomic status


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