How do Helicobacter pylori infections cause inflammation of the stomach?
Gastrointestinal inflammation is a relatively common complaint that can cause significant discomfort and can also lead to the development of stomach ulcers or stomach cancer. The inflammation of the stomach (gastritis) is usually triggered by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. Scientists at the Hannover Medical School (MHH) have now found out how the pathogens cause gastric mucosal inflammation and hope to use it to open up new approaches to treating gastric mucosal inflammation.
According to the research team led by Professor Dr., around 40 percent of Germans and even 50 percent of people worldwide wear Christine Josenhans from the Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hospital Hygiene at the MHH the bacterium Helicobacter pylori in the stomach. Helicobacter pylori is the main cause of chronic gastric mucosal inflammation, which in turn entails a significantly increased risk of stomach ulcers and stomach cancer. The MHH reports that the current study has now succeeded in identifying the way Helicobacter pylori leads to gastritis. The researchers published their results in the specialist journal “PLOS Pathogens”.
Special protein transmits the inflammation signals
The MHH scientists say they have successfully identified one of the most important mechanisms by which the Helicobacter pylori bacterium leads to gastritis. With the help of a so-called gene scissors (designation CRISPR-Cas9), one of the proteins that transmits the inflammatory signals to the cell nucleus - the so-called adapter protein TIFA - could be determined. Using a kind of specific bacterial injection syringe, parts of the envelope of Helicobacter pylori are introduced into the cells of the gastric mucosa and meet certain proteins there, which transmit inflammation signals to the cell nucleus, the scientists explain.
New treatment approaches for gastric mucosal inflammation and stomach cancer?
According to Prof. Dr. Christine Josenhans will help the current findings "to find new therapeutic approaches against chronic gastric mucosal inflammation and, above all, against the gastric cancer that may result." The treatment of Helicobacter pylori infections to date has mainly been based on the use of antibiotics. The current study was part of the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 900 funded by the German Research Foundation (DFB) 900 "Chronic Infections: Microbial Persistence and its Control". (fp)