Helicobacter pylori Infection in Children


Reprint requests to: Marion Rowland, UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, The Children's Research Centre, Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin 12, Ireland. E-mail: marion.rowland@ucd.i.e


The review summarizes the articles published on Helicobacter pylori in children between April 2007 and March 2008. Evidence is emerging in different populations including developing countries that the prevalence of H. pylori is declining in all age groups. The reasons for this are unclear but it is unlikely that treatment of infection or improvement in socioeconomic conditions fully explains the decline. For the first time, differences in the inflammatory response between adults and children have been well characterized in a group of adults and children from Chile with similar levels of H. pylori infection. This study suggests that the reduced inflammatory response to H. pylori at a cellular level in children could be the consequence of an enhanced Treg cell response, which in turn down-regulates H. pylori-induced inflammation. The publication of the Paediatric European Register for Treatment of Helicobacter pylori study (PERTH) is important as it demonstrates the advantages of different centers working in collaboration for the benefit of children. It also highlights the fact that while bismuth-based treatment is more effective than proton pump inhibitor-based treatment in children, bismuth preparations are not widely available for use in children.