Association between Helicobacter pylori infection and inflammatory bowel disease: A meta-analysis and systematic review of the literature

Jay Luther, Maneesh Dave, Peter D.R. Higgins, John Y. Kao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


Background: Epidemiologic data suggest a protective effect of Helicobacter pylori infection against the development of autoimmune disease. Laboratory data illustrate H. pylori's ability to induce immune tolerance and limit inflammatory responses. Numerous observational studies have investigated the association between H. pylori infection and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Our aim was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of this association. Methods: Medline, EMBASE, bibliographies, and meeting abstracts were searched by 2 independent reviewers. Of 369 abstracts reviewed, 30 promising articles were reviewed in detail. Twenty-three studies met our inclusion criteria (subject N = 5903). Meta-analysis was performed with the metan command in Stata 10.1. Results: Overall, 27.1% of IBD patients had evidence of infection with H. pylori compared to 40.9% of patients in the control group. The estimated relative risk of H. pylori infection in IBD patients was 0.64 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.54-0.75). There was significant heterogeneity in the included studies that could not be accounted for by the method of IBD and H. pylori diagnosis, study location, or study population age. Conclusions: These results suggest a protective benefit of H. pylori infection against the development of IBD. Heterogeneity among studies and the possibility of publication bias limit the certainty of this finding. Further studies investigating the effect of eradication of H. pylori on the development of IBD are warranted. Because environmental hygiene and intestinal microbiota may be strong confounders, further mechanistic studies in H. pylori mouse models are also necessary to further define the mechanism of this negative association.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1077-1084
Number of pages8
JournalInflammatory bowel diseases
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Crohn's disease
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Ulcerative colitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Gastroenterology


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