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Helicobacter. 2008 Oct;13(5):380-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-5378.2008.00625.x.

Monocyte and macrophage killing of helicobacter pylori: relationship to bacterial virulence factors.

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Sansom Institute, University of South Australia, South Australia, Australia.



Helicobacter pylori infection is an important health problem, as it involves approximately 50% of the world's population, causes chronic inflammatory disease and increases the risk of gastric cancer development. H. pylori infection elicits a vigorous immune response, but this does not usually result in bacterial clearance. We have investigated whether the persistence of H. pylori in the host could be partly due to an inability of macrophages to kill this bacterium.


Monocytes and macrophages isolated from the peripheral blood of normal human controls were infected in vitro with five H. pylori isolates. The isolates were characterized for known H. pylori virulence factors; vacuolating cytotoxin (VacA), the cag pathogenicity island (cagPAI), urease, and catalase by Western blot and polymerase chain reaction analysis. The ability of primary human monocytes and macrophages to kill each of these H. pylori strains was then defined at various time points after cellular infection.


The five H. pylori strains showed contrasting patterns of the virulence factors. There were different rates of killing for the bacterial strains. Macrophages had less capacity than monocytes to kill three H. pylori strains. There appeared to be no correlation between the virulence factors studied and differential killing in monocytes.


Primary human monocytes had a higher capacity to kill certain strains of H. pylori when compared to macrophages. The VacA, cagPAI, urease, and catalase virulence factors were not predictive of the capacity to avoid monocyte and macrophage killing, suggesting that other factors may be important in H. pylori intracellular pathogenicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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