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Chronic gastritis induced by Helicobacter pylori is the strongest known risk factor for gastric adenocarcinoma, yet the effects of bacterial eradication on carcinogenesis remain unclear. Animal models provide important insights into factors that are involved in gastric carcinogenesis, and we previously utilized such a model to demonstrate that an in vivo-adapted H. pylori strain, 7.13, rapidly and reproducibly induces inflammation-mediated gastric carcinoma. In the current study, we used this bacterial strain as a prototype to define the role of targeted antimicrobial therapy in gastric carcinogenesis. Mongolian gerbils were infected with H. pylori for 4 or 8 weeks, treated with antimicrobial agents or vehicle, and then euthanized at 8 weeks after the completion of therapy. All infected gerbils developed gastritis; however, inflammation was significantly attenuated in animals receiving antimicrobial therapy. Gastric dysplasia or cancer developed in >60% of the gerbils that remained persistently colonized with H. pylori, but in none of the animals treated with antibiotics following 4 weeks of infection. Infection with H. pylori for 8 weeks prior to therapy resulted in an attenuation, but not complete prevention, of pre-malignant and malignant lesions. Similarly, antibiotic therapy initiated at 4, but not 8, weeks after H. pylori challenge significantly reduced expression of the Th1 pro-inflammatory cytokine interferon-gamma within colonized gastric mucosa. These results indicate that treatment of H. pylori in this model decreases the incidence and severity of lesions with carcinogenic potential. The effectiveness of eradication is dependent upon the timing of intervention, providing insights into mechanisms that may regulate the development of malignancies arising within the context of inflammatory states.
The desert gerbil Psammomys obesus, an established model of type 2 diabetes (T2D), has previously been shown to lack pancreatic and duodenal homeobox gene 1 (Pdx-1) expression. Pdx-1 deficiency leads to pancreas agenesis in both mice and humans. We have therefore further examined the pancreas of P. obesus during embryonic development. Using Pdx-1 antisera raised against evolutionary conserved epitopes, we failed to detect Pdx-1 immunoreactivity at any time points. However, at E14.5, Nkx6.1 immunoreactivity marks the nuclei of all epithelial cells of the ventral and dorsal pancreatic buds and the only endocrine cell types found at this time point are glucagon and PYY. At E18.5 the pancreas is well branched and both glucagon- and ghrelin-positive cells are scattered or found in clusters, whereas insulin-positive cells are not found. At E22.5, the acini of the exocrine pancreas are starting to mature, and amylase and carboxypeptidase A immunoreactivity is found scattered and not in all acini. Ghrelin-, glucagon-, PYY-, gastrin-, somatostatin (SS)-, pancreatic polypeptide (PP)-, and insulin-immunoreactive cells are found scattered or in small groups within or lining the developing ductal epithelium as marked by cytokeratin 19. Using degenerate PCR, the P. obesus Neurogenin-3 (Ngn-3) gene was cloned. Nucleotide and amino acid sequences show high homology with known Ngn-3 sequences. Using specific antiserum, we can observe that Ngn-3-immunoreactive cells are rare at E14.5 but readily detectable at E18.5 and E22.5. In conclusion, despite the lack of detection of Pdx-1, the P. obesus pancreas develops similarly to Muridae species, and the Ngn-3 sequence and expression pattern is highly conserved in P. obesus.
Persistent gastritis induced by Helicobacter pylori is the strongest known risk factor for adenocarcinoma of the distal stomach, yet only a fraction of colonized persons ever develop gastric cancer. The H. pylori cytotoxin-associated gene (cag) pathogenicity island encodes a type IV secretion system that delivers the bacterial effector CagA into host cells after bacterial attachment, and cag+ strains augment gastric cancer risk. A host effector that is aberrantly activated in gastric cancer precursor lesions is beta-catenin, and activation of beta-catenin leads to targeted transcriptional up-regulation of genes implicated in carcinogenesis. We report that in vivo adaptation endowed an H. pylori strain with the ability to rapidly and reproducibly induce gastric dysplasia and adenocarcinoma in a rodent model of gastritis. Compared with its parental noncarcinogenic isolate, the oncogenic H. pylori strain selectively activates beta-catenin in model gastric epithelia, which is dependent on translocation of CagA into host epithelial cells. Beta-catenin nuclear accumulation is increased in gastric epithelium harvested from gerbils infected with the H. pylori carcinogenic strain as well as from persons carrying cag+ vs. cag- strains or uninfected persons. These results indicate that H. pylori-induced dysregulation of beta-catenin-dependent pathways may explain in part the augmentation in the risk of gastric cancer conferred by this pathogen.
BACKGROUND & AIMS - Helicobacter pylori inhabits a highly restricted ecological niche in the human gastric mucosa. Microbial gene expression in the context of persistent infection remains largely uncharacterized.
METHODS - An RNA analysis method, selective capture of transcribed sequences, was used in conjunction with genomic array hybridization to characterize H. pylori complementary DNAs (cDNAs) obtained from both human and experimentally infected gerbil gastric tissue specimens.
RESULTS - Bacterial cDNAs obtained by selective capture of transcribed sequences from tissues hybridized to arrayed DNA fragments representing approximately 70% of open reading frames in the H. pylori genome. RNAs for most of these open reading frames were also detected by array hybridization analyses of total RNA prepared from the isolated H. pylori strains cultured in vitro. However, a subset of H. pylori RNAs detected in gastric tissue specimens was consistently undetectable in bacteria grown in vitro. The majority of these RNAs encode factors unique to H. pylori that are potentially produced in response to interactions with mammalian gastric mucosa.
CONCLUSIONS - The combination of selective capture of transcribed sequences with array hybridization has allowed a global analysis of bacterial gene expression occurring in human tissues during a natural infection.
Helicobacter pylori colonization induces inflammation in essentially all hosts, a persistent process that increases the risk of developing distal gastric adenocarcinoma. However, only a small percentage of persons carrying H. pylori develop neoplasia; enhanced risk may be related to differences in expression of specific bacterial products, differences in the host response to the bacteria, or the interaction between host and microbe. H. pylori strains that have the cag pathogenicity island are associated with further increased risk for developing distal gastric cancer; however, host responses to H. pylori, such as altered epithelial cell proliferation and apoptosis, also may be important in lowering the threshold for carcinogenesis. H. pylori cag+ strains selectively enhance proliferation and attenuate apoptosis in human mucosa compared to cag- strains. However, cag+ strains also induce more severe gastritis, suggesting that host inflammatory mediators such as cytokines, prostaglandins, and hormones may modulate H. pylori-induced alterations in cellular turnover. In the Mongolian gerbil model of gastric carcinogenesis, apoptosis increases early and transiently following H. pylori infection, but scores progressively decline despite worsening gastric inflammation. Epithelial cell proliferation peaks later and is significantly related to increased gastrin levels, suggesting that epithelial cell growth in H. pylori-colonized mucosa may be mediated by gastrin-dependent mechanisms. An emerging model invoked by these data is one in which H. pylori cag+ strains, in conjunction with host mediators, enhance gastric epithelial cell proliferation but not apoptosis in vivo. The combination of increased proliferation without a concordant increase in apoptosis may therefore contribute to the heightened retention of mutagenized cells, which over decades may increase the subsequent risk for gastric cancer.
Although gastric adenocarcinoma is associated with the presence of Helicobacter pylori in the stomach, only a small fraction of colonized individuals develop this common malignancy. H. pylori strain and host genotypes probably influence the risk of carcinogenesis by differentially affecting host inflammatory responses and epithelial-cell physiology. Understanding the host-microbial interactions that lead to neoplasia will improve cancer-targeted therapeutics and diagnostics, and provide mechanistic insights into other malignancies that arise within the context of microbially initiated inflammatory states.
Helicobacter pylori enhances the risk for ulcer disease and gastric cancer, yet only a minority of H. pylori-colonized individuals develop disease. We examined the ability of two H. pylori isolates to induce differential host responses in vivo or in vitro, and then used an H. pylori whole genome microarray to identify bacterial determinants related to pathogenesis. Gastric ulcer strain B128 induced more severe gastritis, proliferation, and apoptosis in gerbil mucosa than did duodenal ulcer strain G1.1, and gastric ulceration and atrophy occurred only in B128+ gerbils. In vitro, gerbil-passaged B128 derivatives significantly increased IL-8 secretion and apoptosis compared with G1.1 strains. DNA hybridization to the microarray identified several strain-specific differences in gene composition including a large deletion of the cag pathogenicity island in strain G1.1. Partial and complete disruption of the cag island in strain B128 attenuated induction of IL-8 in vitro and significantly decreased gastric inflammation in vivo. These results indicate that the ability of H. pylori to regulate epithelial cell responses related to inflammation depends on the presence of an intact cag pathogenicity island. Use of an H pylori whole genome microarray is an effective method to identify differences in gene content between H. pylori strains that induce distinct pathological outcomes in a rodent model of H. pylori infection.
BACKGROUND & AIMS - Human colonization with Helicobacter pylori increases the risk for distal gastric adenocarcinoma, possibly by altering gastric epithelial cell cycle events and/or gastrin secretion. This study aimed to determine whether H. pylori virulence-related characteristics affect apoptosis, proliferation, and gastrin levels in a rodent model of gastric adenocarcinoma.
METHODS - Mongolian gerbils were challenged with H. pylori wild-type or isogenic cagA(-) and vacA(-) mutants, and apoptotic and proliferating cells were identified by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick-end labeling and proliferating cell nuclear antigen immunohistochemistry, respectively. Serum gastrin levels were determined by radioimmunoassay.
RESULTS - Gastric epithelial cell turnover was no different after infection with the wild-type, cagA(-), or vacA(-) strains. H. pylori infection significantly increased antral apoptosis 2-4 weeks after challenge, before apoptotic indices decreased to baseline. In contrast, antral proliferation rates were significantly higher 16-20 weeks after inoculation, but then decreased by 40 weeks. Antral proliferation was significantly related to serum gastrin levels, whereas antral apoptosis was inversely related to acute inflammation and lymphoid follicles.
CONCLUSIONS - In H. pylori-infected gerbils, enhanced antral apoptosis is an early and transient cell cycle event. Epithelial cell proliferation peaks later and is significantly related to increased gastrin levels, suggesting that epithelial cell growth in H. pylori-colonized mucosa may be mediated by gastrin-dependent mechanisms.
Populations of Helicobacter pylori cells show a stable expression of Lewis surface antigens, although phase variation may occur among individual organisms grown in vitro. We searched for variation in Lewis phenotypes among H. pylori cells of minimally in vitro-passaged isolates. Lewis expression in 180 clonal H. pylori populations from the primary culture of 20 gastric biopsy samples from 12 patients, and that in 160 isolates from primary cultures from 16 experimentally infected rodents, were examined by enzyme immunoassays. Substantial differences in Lewis expression were found among the isolates from 9 (75%) of 12 patients. These differences were unrelated to overall genetic diversity as determined by polymerase chain reactions for random amplified polymorphic DNA or cagA status, and they persisted during subsequent in vitro passage. In contrast, Lewis expression was highly uniform in H. pylori isolates from different rodents infected for up to 20 weeks. Variation in H. pylori Lewis expression in genetically closely related organisms in human subjects may provide a pool of bacterial phenotypes for the continuous selection of optimally host-adapted populations suitable for persistence.
A coupled peroxidation technique for localization of monoamine oxidase (MAO-A and MAO-B), applied to post-mortem fixed tissue of the locus coeruleus of the Mongolian gerbil is demonstrated. Tyramine hydrochloride, beta-phenylethylamine and 5-hydroxytryptamine creatinine sulphate were used as substrates, 1-deprenyl and clorgyline served as specific inhibitors. All three substrates stained the neurons of locus coeruleus in the absence of inhibitor. In the presence of 1-deprenyl, tyramine hydrochloride and 5-hydroxytryptamine creatinine sulphate were metabolized, whereas in the presence of clorgyline no reaction with either substrate could be observed. Immunocytochemical staining of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) was employed as comparison.