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Association Between Helicobacter pylori Infection in Mothers and Birth Weight


Helicobacter pylori infection may cause intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). However, it is unknown whether the growth of children from H. pylori-infected mothers is also affected or whether transmission of infection from mother to child occurs. This study aimed to determine if maternal H. pylori infection was associated with IUGR and low birth weight in a mouse model, and whether transmission of infection from mother to infant occurs. Female C57BL/6 mice were inoculated with H. pylori (n = 18) or water (control; n = 18) via gavage. Mice were mated at 6 weeks postinfection, with half of the mice sacrificed after 2 weeks of gestation. The remaining mice gave birth and a third of the litter was weighed and sacrificed at birth, during milk feeding (1.5 weeks), and during solid feeding (4 weeks). Stomachs of all mice and whole foetuses were cultured for the presence of H. pylori. There were no differences in litter size or foetus weight between control and H. pylori-infected mice. Pups from infected mothers had a lower weight during milk feeding (control, 5.91 ± 0.23 g; H. pylori, 4.59 ± 0.16 g; p < 0.05) and solid feeding (control, 12.73 ± 0.58 g; H. pylori, 10.01 ± 1.02 g; p < 0.05). H. pylori was not detected by culture in the pups at any age. H. pylori infection in mothers was associated with a decrease in infant weight during milk feeding and after weaning. Transmission of infection from mother to infant was not detected by culture, suggesting that decreased baby weight may be due to decreased milk supply or altered nutrition from the mother.

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This study was performed at the Gastroenterology Unit, Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service, North Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. The results were presented at The World Congress of Gastroenterology (2005) and published in abstract form in Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology, Volume 19, Supplement C, R.0193 (2005). This work was supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Industry Fellowship to Dr. Tran.

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Correspondence to Cuong D. Tran.

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Gøbel, R., Symonds, E.L., Butler, R.N. et al. Association Between Helicobacter pylori Infection in Mothers and Birth Weight. Dig Dis Sci 52, 3049–3053 (2007).

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  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Birth weight
  • Transmission
  • Mouse model