Modulating the cytokine response to treatHelicobactergastritis


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Abstract

The conventional view of gastric acid secretion is that a negative feedback mechanism arises in response to high acidity, such that somatostatin keeps G-cells and parietal cells from producing more gastrin and acid, respectively. When the stomach becomes infected, for example with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), the feedback mechanism is impaired. In animal models, our laboratory has demonstrated that other types of bacteria besides H. pylori can cause gastritis. For example, under conditions of low acidity, gastritis is secondary to bacterial overgrowth, not production of excessive acid, thus suggesting a new paradigm for the regulation of gastric acid secretion under inflammatory conditions. Cytokines, released during the gastric inflammatory response, including IFNγ, TNFα and IL-1β stimulate the G-cell to produce gastrin. Gastrin in turn triggers the release of acid, and hypergastrinemia suppresses somatostatin, the inhibitor of acid. The overall response results in maximal gastric acid output that acts as the stomach's most important anti-microbial agent. The increased acid secretion by the stomach in the presence of H. pylori seems to be part of the innate immune response, in that gastrin and somatostatin are reciprocally regulated by Th1 or Th2 cytokines, respectively. In a mouse model, we showed that octreotide, a somatostatin, analog, is an efficacious treatment for Helicobacter gastritis. In humans, octreotide might accelerate recovery from H. pylori infection, reducing the duration of antibiotic therapy.

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