Helicobacter pylori infection in hepatic encephalopathy: Relationship to plasma endotoxins and blood ammonia

Hassan Abdel-Hady, Ali Zaki, Gamal Badra, Mahmoud Lotfy, Carlo Selmi, Alessia Giorgini, Mohamed El-Sayed, Reda Badr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/Aim: Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is frequently observed in patients with advanced liver disease and manifests a wide variety of neuropsychiatric signs and symptoms. Ammonia toxicity and bacterial endotoxins have been suggested as key determinants of HE onset whereas a role for Helicobacter pylori infection has not been established. We investigated the correlation between H. pylori infection and HE severity (evaluated through functional tests) in 60 outpatients with established liver cirrhosis and 20 non-cirrhotic controls. Methods: Fasting arterial blood ammonia, plasma endotoxins, and H. pylori infection status were investigated in all subjects. Results: H. pylori infection was documented in 35/60 (58%) patients and in 6/20 (30%) controls (P = 0.039). Significant differences were observed between patients with and withoutHE for age, presence of ascites, fasting arterial blood ammonia, plasma endotoxin, and H. pylori infection. Further, a significant increase in fasting arterial blood ammonia and plasma endotoxin was associated with H. pylori infection in cirrhotic patients. Last, medical treatment of H. pylori infection led to a significant decrease in HE severity and fasting arterial blood ammonia levels. Conclusion: In conclusion, we submit that H. pylori infection might, in fact, play a role in increasing the circulating levels of ammonia and endotoxins in cirrhotic patients, thus facilitating the onset of HE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1026-1033
Number of pages8
JournalHepatology Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007


  • Ammonia
  • Endotoxins
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Hepatic encephalopathy
  • Liver cirrhosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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