Helicobacter pylori infection, serum pepsinogens as markers of atrophic gastritis, and leukocyte telomere length: a population-based study

Khitam Muhsen, Ronit Sinnreich, Dafna Merom, Hisham Nassar, Daniel Cohen, Jeremy D. Kark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Persistent infections that induce prolonged inflammation might negatively affect the leukocyte telomere length (LTL); however, the role in LTL of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, which persistently colonizes the stomach, remains unknown. The study objective was to examine associations of sero-prevalence of H. pylori immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody and serum pepsinogens (PGs), as markers of atrophic gastritis, with LTL. A cross-sectional study was performed among 934 Arab residents of East Jerusalem, aged 27-78 years, randomly selected from Israel's national population registry. Sera were tested for H. pylori IgG and PG levels by ELISA. LTL was measured by southern blots. Multiple linear regression models were fitted to adjust for sociodemographic and lifestyle factors. RESULTS: LTL decreased significantly with age (p < 0.001) and was shorter in men than women (p = 0.032). The mean LTL was longer in H. pylori sero-positive persons than negative ones: mean difference 0.13 kb (95% CI 0.02, 0.24), p = 0.016. Participants with atrophic gastritis (PGI < 30 μg/L or a PGI: PGII < 3.0) had shorter LTL than did those without: mean difference - 0.18 (95% CI - 0.32, - 0.04). The difference was of larger magnitude between persons who had past H. pylori infection (sero-negative to H. pylori IgG antibody) and atrophic gastritis, compared to those who were H. pylori sero-negative and did not have atrophic gastritis: mean difference - 0.32 kb (95% CI - 0.55, - 0.10). This association remained significant after adjustment for age, sex, and religiosity: beta coefficient - 0.21 kb (95% CI - 0.41, - 0.001), p = 0.049. The results were similar after further adjustment for lifestyle factors. In bivariate analysis, mean LTL was longer in physically active persons than non-active ones, and shorter in persons with than without obesity; however, these differences were diminished and were not significant in the multivariable model. CONCLUSIONS: H. pylori IgG sero-positivity per se was not related to reduced LTL. However, persons with past H. pylori infection (i.e., lacking H. pylori IgG serum antibody) and with serological evidence of atrophic gastritis, had a significantly shorter LTL than did those without atrophic gastritis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32
Number of pages1
JournalHuman Genomics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 22 Jul 2019


  • Atrophic gastritis
  • Cytotoxin-associated gene A antigen
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Leukocyte telomere length
  • Serum pepsinogens


Dive into the research topics of 'Helicobacter pylori infection, serum pepsinogens as markers of atrophic gastritis, and leukocyte telomere length: a population-based study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this