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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2007 Dec;51(3):577-86. Epub 2007 Oct 4.

Host response to Helicobacter pylori infection before initiation of the adaptive immune response.

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Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.


Helicobacter pylori persistently colonizes the human stomach. In this study, immune responses to H. pylori that occur in the early stages of infection were investigated. Within the first 2 days after orogastric infection of mice with H. pylori, there was a transient infiltration of macrophages and neutrophils into the glandular stomach. By day 10 postinfection, the numbers of macrophages and neutrophils decreased to baseline levels. By 3 weeks postinfection, an adaptive immune response was detected, marked by gastric infiltration of T lymphocytes, macrophages, and neutrophils, as well as increased numbers of H. pylori-specific T cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells in paragastric lymph nodes. Neutrophil-attracting and macrophage-attracting chemokines were expressed at higher levels in the stomachs of H. pylori-infected mice than in the stomachs of uninfected mice. Increased expression of TNFalpha and IFNgamma (Th1-type inflammatory cytokines) and IL-17 (a Th17-type cytokine) was detected in the stomachs of H. pylori-infected mice, but increased expression of IL-4 (a Th2-type cytokine) was not detected. These data indicate that a transient gastric inflammatory response to H. pylori occurs within the first few days after infection, before the priming of T cells and initiation of an adaptive immune response. It is speculated that inappropriate waning of the innate immune response during early stages of infection may be a factor that contributes to H. pylori persistence.

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