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Concept: Gastritis


Chronic inflammation plays a causal role in gastric tumor initiation. The identification of predictive biomarkers from gastric inflammation to tumorigenesis will help us to distinguish gastric cancer from atrophic gastritis and establish the diagnosis of early-stage gastric cancer. Phospholipase C epsilon 1 (PLCε1) is reported to play a vital role in inflammation and tumorigenesis. This study was aimed to investigate the clinical significance of PLCε1 in the initiation and progression of gastric cancer.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Stomach, Helicobacter pylori, Gastritis, Intrinsic factor, Pernicious anemia, Atrophic gastritis


Gastric adenocarcinoma is globally the third leading cause of death due to malignancy, with the bulk of this disease burden being suffered by low and middle income countries (LMIC), especially in Asia. The majority of these cancers develop as a result of a chronic gastritis that arises in response to infection with the stomach-dwelling bacterium, Helicobacter pylori. A vaccine against this pathogen would therefore be a powerful tool for preventing gastric adenocarcinoma. However, notwithstanding a proof-of-concept that vaccination can protect children from acquisition of H. pylori infection, there are currently no advanced vaccine candidates with only a single vaccine in Phase I clinical trial. Further, the development of a vaccine against H. pylori is not a current strategic priority of major pharmaceutical companies despite the large global disease burden. Given the involvement of such companies is likely to be critical for late stage development, there is therefore a need for an increased appreciation of the burden of this disease in LMIC and more investment to reinvigorate research in H. pylori vaccine Research and Development.

Concepts: Immune system, Cancer, Bacteria, Stomach, Helicobacter pylori, Helicobacter, Gastritis


Advances in bioinspired design principles and nanomaterials have led to tremendous progress in autonomously moving synthetic nano/micromotors with diverse functionalities in different environments. However, a significant gap remains in moving nano/micromotors from test tubes to living organisms for treating diseases with high efficacy. Here we present the first, to our knowledge, in vivo therapeutic micromotors application for active drug delivery to treat gastric bacterial infection in a mouse model using clarithromycin as a model antibiotic and Helicobacter pylori infection as a model disease. The propulsion of drug-loaded magnesium micromotors in gastric media enables effective antibiotic delivery, leading to significant bacteria burden reduction in the mouse stomach compared with passive drug carriers, with no apparent toxicity. Moreover, while the drug-loaded micromotors reach similar therapeutic efficacy as the positive control of free drug plus proton pump inhibitor, the micromotors can function without proton pump inhibitors because of their built-in proton depletion function associated with their locomotion.Nano- and micromotors have been demonstrated in vitro for a range of applications. Here the authors demonstrate the in-vivo therapeutic use of micromotors to treat H. pylori infection.

Concepts: Bacteria, In vivo, Gastroenterology, Stomach, Efficacy, Helicobacter pylori, Peptic ulcer, Gastritis


The bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), has evolved to survive in the highly acidic environment of the stomach and colonize on the epithelial surface of the gastric mucosa. Its pathogenic effects are well known to cause gastritis, peptic ulcers, and gastric cancer. In order to infect the stomach and establish colonies on the mucus epithelial surface, the bacterium has to move across the gel-like gastric mucus lining of the stomach under acidic conditions. In this review we address the question of how the bacterium gets past the protective mucus barrier from a biophysical perspective. We begin by reviewing the molecular structure of gastric mucin and discuss the current state of understanding concerning mucin polymerization and low pH induced gelation. We then focus on the viscoelasticity of mucin in view of its relevance to the transport of particles and bacteria across mucus, the key first step in H. pylori infection. The second part of the review focuses on the motility of H. pylori in mucin solutions and gels, and how infection with H. pylori in turn impacts the viscoelastic properties of mucin. We present recent microscopic results tracking the motion of H. pylori in mucin solutions and gels. We then discuss how the biochemical strategy of urea hydrolysis required for survival in the acid is also relevant to the mechanism that enables flagella-driven swimming across the mucus gel layer. Other aspects of the influence of H. pylori infection such as, altering gastric mucin expression, its rate of production and its composition, and the influence of mucin on factors controlling H. pylori virulence and proliferation are briefly discussed with references to relevant literature.

Concepts: Bacteria, Gastroenterology, Stomach, Helicobacter pylori, Peptic ulcer, Helicobacter, Urease, Gastritis


Probably due to caffeine-induced gastric acid secretion, negative effects of coffee upon various upper-gastrointestinal diseases have been precariously accepted, despite the inadequate epidemiological evidence. Our aim is to evaluate the effect of coffee consumption on four major acid-related diseases: gastric ulcer (GU), duodenal ulcer (DU), reflux esophagitis (RE), and non-erosive reflux disease (NERD) based on the large-scale multivariate analysis. Of the 9,517 healthy adults, GU, DU, and RE were diagnosed by endoscopy, and NERD was diagnosed by the symptoms of heartburn and regurgitation without esophageal erosion. Associations between coffee consumption and the four disorders were evaluated, together with age, gender, body mass index (BMI), Helicobacter pylori (HP) infection status, pepsinogen I/II ratio, smoking, and alcohol. We further performed meta-analysis using the random effects model to redefine the relationship between coffee intake and peptic ulcer disease. The eligible 8,013 study subjects comprised of 5,451 coffee drinkers and 2,562 non-coffee drinkers. By univariate analysis, age, BMI, pepsinogen I/II ratio, smoking, and alcohol showed significant associations with coffee consumption. By multiple logistic regression analysis, positively correlated factors with significance were HP infection, current smoking, BMI, and pepsinogen I/II ratio for GU; HP infection, pepsinogen I/II ratio, and current smoking for DU; HP non-infection, male, BMI, pepsinogen I/II ratio, smoking, age, and alcohol for RE; younger age, smoking, and female for NERD. The meta-analyses could detect any association of coffee consumption with neither GU nor DU. In conclusion, there are no significant relationship between coffee consumption and the four major acid-related upper gastrointestinal disorders.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Gastroenterology, Stomach, Helicobacter pylori, Gastroesophageal reflux disease, Peptic ulcer, Gastritis, Antacid


AIMS: Acute Helicobacter pylori infection is associated with transient hypochlorhydria. In H pylori-associated atrophy, hypochlorhydria has a role in iron deficiency (ID) through changes in the physiology of iron-complex absorption. The aims were to evaluate the association between H pylori-associated hypochlorhydria and ID in children. METHODS: Symptomatic children (n=123) were prospectively enrolled. Blood, gastric juice and gastric biopsies were taken, respectively, for haematological analyses, pH assessment and H pylori determination, and duodenal biopsies for exclusion of coeliac disease. Stool samples were collected for parasitology/microbiology. Thirteen children were excluded following parasitology and duodenal histopathology, and five due to impaired blood analysis. RESULTS: Ten children were hypochlorhydric (pH>4) and 33 were H pylori positive. In H pylori-positive children with pH>4 (n=6) serum iron and transferrin saturation levels % were significantly lower (p<0.01) than H pylori-positive children with pH≤4. No differences in ferritin, or total iron binding capacity, were observed. In H pylori-negative children with pH>4, iron and transferrin saturation were not significantly different from children with pH≤4. CONCLUSIONS: Low serum iron and transferrin in childhood H pylori infection is associated with hypochlorhydria. In uninfected children, hypochlorhydria was not associated with altered serum iron parameters, indicating a combination of H pylori infection and/or inflammation, and hypochlorhydria has a role in the aetiology of ID. Although H pylori-associated hypochlorhydria is transient during acute gastritis, this alters iron homeostasis with clinical impact in developing countries with a high H pylori prevalence.

Concepts: Gastroenterology, Stomach, Helicobacter pylori, Iron deficiency anemia, Gastritis, Transferrin, Transferrin saturation, Total iron-binding capacity


Infection with Helicobacter pylori causes extensive gastric epithelial cell inflammation which may progress to atrophic gastritis, intestinal metaplasia, and even gastric adenocarcinoma. Apigenin (4',5,7-Trihydroxyflavone) is widely distributed in fruits and vegetables, and is a well-known antiinflammatory supplement with low cytotoxicity. In this study, we investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of apigenin in H. pylori-infected MKN45 cells, for which IκBα, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), reactive oxygen species (ROS), interleukin-8 (IL-8), IL-6, IL-1β, and mucin-2 (MUC-2) expressions were examined. Apigenin treatments (9.3-74 μM) significantly increased the IκBα expression, and thus inhibited nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) activation, and the inflammatory factor (COX-2, ICAM-1, ROS, IL-6, and IL-8) expressions decreased. The ROS levels decreased partially based on the intrinsic scavenging property of apigenin. In summary, apigenin treatments effectively inhibited NF-κB activation and the related inflammatory factor expressions, as well as increased MUC-2 expression in the H. pylori-infected MKN45 cells. The compound shows great potential as a candidate agent for the inhibition of H. pylori-induced extensive gastric epithelial cell inflammation.

Concepts: Inflammation, Bacteria, Mitochondrion, Reactive oxygen species, Stomach, Anti-inflammatory, Helicobacter pylori, Gastritis


Infection with Helicobacter pylori leads to gastritis, peptic ulcers and gastric cancer. Moreover, when the gastric mucosa is exposed to H. pylori, gastric mucosal inflammatory cytokine interleukin-8 (Il-8) and reactive oxygen species increase. Anthocyanins have anti-oxidative, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. However, the effect of anthocyanins in H. pylori-infected cells is not yet clear. In this study, therefore, the effect of anthocyanins on H. pylori-infected human gastric epithelial cells was examined. AGS cells were pretreated with anthocyanins for 24 hrs followed by H. pylori 26695 infection for up to 24 hrs. Cell viability and ROS production were examined by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide and 2',7'-dichlorofluorescein diacetate assay, respectively. Western blot analyses and RT-PCR were performed to assess gene and protein expression, respectively. IL-8 secretion in AGS cells was measured by ELISA. It was found that anthocyanins decrease H. pylori-induced ROS enhancement. Anthocyanins also inhibited phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinases, translocation of nuclear factor-kappa B and Iκβα degradation. Furthermore anthocyanins inhibited H. pylori-induced inducible nitric oxide synthases and cyclooxygenase-2 mRNA expression and inhibited IL-8 production by 45.8%. Based on the above findings, anthocyanins might have an anti-inflammatory effect in H. pylori-infected gastric epithelial cells.

Concepts: Inflammation, Cancer, Bacteria, Signal transduction, Stomach, Helicobacter pylori, Peptic ulcer, Gastritis


A known virulence factor of Helicobacter pylori that augments gastric cancer risk is the CagA cytotoxin. A carcinogenic derivative strain, 7.13, that has a greater ability to translocate CagA exhibits much higher hydrogenase activity than its parent noncarcinogenic strain, B128. A Δhyd mutant strain with deletion of hydrogenase genes was ineffective in CagA translocation into human gastric epithelial AGS cells, while no significant attenuation of cell adhesion was observed. The quinone reductase inhibitor 2-n-heptyl-4-hydroxyquinoline-N-oxide (HQNO) was used to specifically inhibit the H2-utilizing respiratory chain of outer membrane-permeabilized bacterial cells; that level of inhibitor also greatly attenuated CagA translocation into AGS cells, indicating the H2-generated transmembrane potential is a contributor to toxin translocation. The Δhyd strain showed a decreased frequency of DNA transformation, suggesting that H. pylori hydrogenase is also involved in energizing the DNA uptake apparatus. In a gerbil model of infection, the ability of the Δhyd strain to induce inflammation was significantly attenuated (at 12 weeks postinoculation), while all of the gerbils infected with the parent strain (7.13) exhibited a high level of inflammation. Gastric cancer developed in 50% of gerbils infected with the wild-type strain 7.13 but in none of the animals infected with the Δhyd strain. By examining the hydrogenase activities from well-defined clinical H. pylori isolates, we observed that strains isolated from cancer patients (n = 6) have a significantly higher hydrogenase (H2/O2) activity than the strains isolated from gastritis patients (n = 6), further supporting an association between H. pylori hydrogenase activity and gastric carcinogenesis in humans.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Cancer, Bacteria, Stomach, Helicobacter pylori, Gastritis, Virulence


The oncoprotein cytotoxic associated gene A (CagA) of Helicobacter pylori plays a pivotal role in the development of gastric cancer, so it has been an important target for anti-H. pylori drugs. Conventional drugs are currently being implemented against H. pylori. The inhibitory role of plant metabolites like curcumin against H. pylori is still a major scientific challenge. Curcumin may represent a novel promising drug against H. pylori infection without producing side effects. In the present study, a comparative analysis between curcumin and conventional drugs (clarithromycin, amoxicillin, pantoprazole, and metronidazole) was carried out using databases to investigate the potential of curcumin against H. pylori targeting the CagA oncoprotein. Curcumin was filtered using Lipinski’s rule of five and the druglikeness property for evaluation of pharmacological properties. Subsequently, molecular docking was employed to determine the binding affinities of curcumin and conventional drugs to the CagA oncoprotein. According to the results obtained from FireDock, the binding energy of curcumin was higher than those of amoxicillin, pantoprazole, and metronidazole, except for clarithromycin, which had the highest binding energy. Accordingly, curcumin may become a promising lead compound against CagA+ H. pylori infection.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Cancer, Bacteria, Stomach, Helicobacter pylori, Helicobacter, Clarithromycin, Gastritis