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Helicobacter. 2018 Aug;23(4):e12489. doi: 10.1111/hel.12489. Epub 2018 May 17.

A simple and cost-efficient adherent culture platform for human gastric primary cells, as an in vitro model for Helicobacter pylori infection.

Author information

HPGC Research Group, Department of Medical Biotechnology, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Stem Cells and Developmental Biology, Cell Science Research Center, Royan Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Technology, ACECR, Tehran, Iran.
Gastroenterology Department, Amiralam Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Developmental Biology, University of Science and Culture, Tehran, Iran.



Most two- dimensional in vitro models for studying host- H. pylori interactions rely on tumor-derived cell lines, which harbor malignant alterations. The recent development of human gastric organoids has overcome this limitation and provides a highly sophisticated, yet costly, short-term model for H. pylori infection, with restricted use in low-budget centers.


Tissue specimens from upper, middle, and lower stomachs of H. pylori-negative volunteers were collectively dispersed and cultured on mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) or collagen-coated plates. Gastric primary cells (GPCs) were evaluated by light microscopy, immunostaining, qRT-PCR and ELISA analysis of cellular secretions, before and after H. pylori infection.


The formation and long-term (up to 1 year) maintenance of GPCs was highly dependent on adherent inactivated MEF cells, cultured in enriched media. These cells were multipassageable and able to undergo stable freezer storage and subsequent revival. The cellular composition of GPCs included the combination of cytokeratin 18 (CK18) and E-cadherin (E-cad)-positive epithelial cells, MUC5AC-positive gastric cells, and leucine-rich repeat containing G protein-coupled receptor 5 (LGR5)-positive progenitor cells. These cells produced significant amounts of gastric pepsinogens I and II. GPCs also allowed for extended (up to 96 hours) H. pylori infection, during which they underwent morphological alterations (cellular vacuolation and elongation) and hyperproduction of gastric pepsinogens and inflammatory cytokines (IL-8 and TNF-α).


We, hereby, present a simple, consistent, and cost-efficient gastric cell culture system, which provides a suitable model for extended in vitro infection of H. pylori. This platform can be employed for a variety of gastric-related research.


Helicobacter pylori ; epithelial; gastric; human; primary; progenitor

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