Helicobacter pylori infection: pathogenesis

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This review covers progress in identifying Helicobacter pylori–derived factors that are involved in survival and virulence of the organism and in elucidating host response pathways that can limit the infection but are also susceptible to dysregulation. Recent work has identified genes of the cytotoxin-associated gene (cag) pathogenicity island (PAI) involved in regulating signaling, interleukin-8 secretion, and phenotypic events in epithelial cells. New roles in pathogenesis have been recognized for vacuolating toxin A (VacA) and urease, H. pylori membrane and secreted factors, and host epithelial surface molecules. Molecular pathways involved in H. pylori–induced apoptosis in epithelial cells, T cells, and macrophages are being dissected. Activation of toll-like receptors and bacterial factors involved in nitric oxide (NO) and reactive oxygen species induction were also described. The ability of H. pylori to limit NO production by several mechanisms may be an important part of its ability to evade the host immune response.

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