Infection and immunity

Chemokines and antimicrobial peptides have a cag-dependent early response to Helicobacter pylori infection in primary human gastric epithelial cells.

PMID 24778119


Helicobacter pylori infection systematically causes chronic gastric inflammation that can persist asymptomatically or evolve toward more severe gastroduodenal pathologies, such as ulcer, mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma, and gastric cancer. The cag pathogenicity island (cag PAI) of H. pylori allows translocation of the virulence protein CagA and fragments of peptidoglycan into host cells, thereby inducing production of chemokines, cytokines, and antimicrobial peptides. In order to characterize the inflammatory response to H. pylori, a new experimental protocol for isolating and culturing primary human gastric epithelial cells was established using pieces of stomach from patients who had undergone sleeve gastrectomy. Isolated cells expressed markers indicating that they were mucin-secreting epithelial cells. Challenge of primary epithelial cells with H. pylori B128 underscored early dose-dependent induction of expression of mRNAs of the inflammatory mediators CXCL1 to -3, CXCL5, CXCL8, CCL20, BD2, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α). In AGS cells, significant expression of only CXCL5 and CXCL8 was observed following infection, suggesting that these cells were less reactive than primary epithelial cells. Infection of both cellular models with H. pylori B128ΔcagM, a cag PAI mutant, resulted in weak inflammatory-mediator mRNA induction. At 24 h after infection of primary epithelial cells with H. pylori, inflammatory-mediator production was largely due to cag PAI substrate-independent virulence factors. Thus, H. pylori cag PAI substrate appears to be involved in eliciting an epithelial response during the early phases of infection. Afterwards, other virulence factors of the bacterium take over in development of the inflammatory response. Using a relevant cellular model, this study provides new information on the modulation of inflammation during H. pylori infection.