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Helicobacter pylori is the strongest risk factor for the development of gastric cancer. Although the specific mechanisms by which this pathogen induces carcinogenesis have not been fully elucidated, high-expression interleukin (IL)-1β alleles are associated with increased gastric cancer risk among H. pylori-infected persons. In addition, loss of matrix metalloproteinase 7 (MMP7) increases mucosal inflammation in mouse models of epithelial injury, and we have shown that gastric inflammation is increased in H. pylori-infected MMP7(-/-) C57BL/6 mice. In this report, we define mechanisms that underpin such responses and extend these results into a genetic model of MMP7 deficiency and gastric cancer. Wild-type (WT) or MMP7(-/-) C57BL/6 mice were challenged with broth alone as an uninfected control or the H. pylori strain PMSS1. All H. pylori-challenged mice were successfully colonized. As expected, H. pylori-infected MMP7(-/-) C57BL/6 mice exhibited a significant increase in gastric inflammation compared with uninfected or infected WT C57BL/6 animals. Loss of MMP7 resulted in M1 macrophage polarization within H. pylori-infected stomachs, as assessed by Luminex technology and immunohistochemistry, and macrophages isolated from infected MMP7-deficient mice expressed significantly higher levels of the M1 macrophage marker IL-1β compared with macrophages isolated from WT mice. To extend these findings into a model of gastric cancer, hypergastrinemic WT INS-GAS or MMP7(-/-) INS-GAS mice were challenged with H. pylori strain PMSS1. Consistent with findings in the C57BL/6 model, H. pylori-infected MMP7-deficient INS-GAS mice exhibited a significant increase in gastric inflammation compared with either uninfected or infected WT INS-GAS mice. In addition, the incidence of gastric hyperplasia and dysplasia was significantly increased in H. pylori-infected MMP7(-/-) INS-GAS mice compared with infected WT INS-GAS mice, and loss of MMP7 promoted M1 macrophage polarization. These results suggest that MMP7 exerts a restrictive role on H. pylori-induced gastric injury and the development of premalignant lesions by suppressing M1 macrophage polarization.