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Helicobacter felis Infection Causes an Acute Iron Deficiency in Nonpregnant and Pregnant Mice

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Abstract Background 

The role of Helicobacter pylori infection in iron deficiency during pregnancy is limited. The aim of the present study was to assess the relationship between Helicobacter infection and levels of iron stores in pregnant mice. Materials and Methods 

Female C57BL/6 mice were either inoculated with 108 H. pylori, Helicobacter felis or water. In the nonpregnant study, 15 mice from each group were sacrificed after 4 and 20 weeks of infection. In the pregnancy study, after 6 weeks of infection all female mice were mated and approximately 2 weeks after mating, half of the pregnant mice (n = 9/group) from each group were sacrificed. The remaining mice were allowed to give birth, and approximately 4 weeks after birth, mice were asphyxiated with CO2, followed by heart puncture, and killed by cervical dislocation. Serum ferritin and iron were determined with a micro-particle enzyme immunoassay method and by a timed-endpoint method. Results 

Serum iron levels in mice infected with H. felis were significantly (p < .05) lowered compared to control (24%) and H. pylori (27%)-infected mice at 4 weeks of infection. Serum iron in the control, H. pylori and H. felis groups were significantly (p < .05) elevated at 20 weeks by 39, 26 and 77%, respectively, compared to 4 weeks of infection. H. felis-infected mice had a significantly (p < .05) decreased serum ferritin level during pregnancy (61%) compared to H. pylori-infected mice. Conclusion 

These results suggest that H. felis but not H. pylori infection causes an acute iron deficiency in normal and pregnant mice.
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Keywords: Helicobacter pylori; iron deficiency; mice; pregnancy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Gastroenterology Unit, Children, Youth and Women's Health Service, North Adelaide, South Australia, Australia;

Publication date: December 1, 2006

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