Helicobacter pylori colonization and obesity – a Mendelian randomization study
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Obesity is associated with substantial morbidity, costs, and decreased life expectancy, and continues to rise worldwide. While etiological understanding is needed for prevention, epidemiological studies indicated that colonization with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) may affect body mass index (BMI), but with inconsistent results. Here, we examine the relationship between H. pylori colonization and BMI/obesity. Cross-sectional analyses were performed in two independent population-based cohorts of elderly from the Netherlands and Germany (n = 13,044). Genetic risk scores were conducted based on genetic loci associated with either H. pylori colonization or BMI/obesity. We performed a bi-directional Mendelian randomization. Meta-analysis of cross-sectional data revealed no association between anti-H. pylori IgG titer and BMI, nor of H. pylori positivity and BMI. Anti-H. pylori IgG titer was negatively associated with obesity (OR 0.99972; 95% CI 0.99946-0.99997, p = 0.03) and with obesity classes (Beta -6.91 •10-5; 95% CI -1.38•10-4, -5.49•10-7, p = 0.048), but the magnitude of these effects was limited. Mendelian randomization showed no causal relation between H. pylori genetic risk score and BMI/obesity, nor between BMI or obesity genetic risk scores and H. pylori positivity. This study provides no evidence for a clinically relevant association between H. pylori and BMI/obesity.
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