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High serum antithyroid antibody concentrations are not associated with Helicobacter pylori infection

(July 2005)

The background of the study. High rates of infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria have been found in some studies of patients with autoimmune thyroiditis, raising the possibility that the response to infection with this organism may be important in the causation of the thyroid disorder. In this study serum antithyroid antibodies were measured in patients with dyspepsia with and without infection with H. pylori.

How the study was done. The study subjects were 302 patients with symptoms of dyspepsia (abdominal pain, heartburn, regurgitation, and nausea and vomiting) for at least three months who were to undergo upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. The patients were studied for H. pylori infection with the C-13 urea breath test, and for thyroid disorders by measurements of serum thyrotropin (TSH), antithyroid peroxidase (anti-TPO) antibodies, and antithyroglobulin (anti-Tg) antibodies.

The results of the study. Among the 302 patients (60 percent women, 40 percent men; average age, 51 years), 37 percent had H. pylori infection, and 63 percent did not. The frequency of hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and high serum concentrations of anti-TPO or anti-Tg antibodies was similar in the patients with and without H. pylori infection (Table). There were no differences in hormonal values in the patients with and without H. pylori infection.

Table. Thyroid Function and Serum Antithyroid Antibody Concentrations in Patients with Dyspepsia with and without H. pylori Infection.
H. pylori Infection
No H. pylori Infection
5 (5%)
10 (6%)
6 (6%)
10 (6%)
High serum anti-TPO antibodies
24 (22%)
36 (19%)
High serum anti-Tg antibodies
6 (5%)
7 (4%)
Both serum antibodies high
8 (7%)
14 (7%)

The conclusions of the study. High serum antithyroid antibody concentrations and thyroid dysfunction are not associated with H. pylori infection.

The original article. Tomasi PA, Dore MP, Fanciulli G, Sanciu F, Realdi G, Delitala G. Is there anything to the reported association between Helicobacter pylori infection and autoimmune thyroiditis? Dig Dis Sci 2005;50:385-8.

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Autoimmune Thyroid Disease