Epithelial cytotoxicity, immune responses, and inflammatory components of helicobacter pylori gastritis

R. Fiocca, O. Luinetti, L. Villani, A. M. Chiaravalli, C. Capella, E. Solcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To clarify the mechanisms of the gastric mucosal immune-inflammatory response to Helicobacter pylori infection, surgical and biopsy specimens from asymptomatic uninfected, gastritis-free individuals and from H. pylori-positive ulcer patients with chronic gastritis were investigated using light and electron microscopy. Activation of the antigen-transporting endocytic-endosomal system, enhanced expression of the antigen-processing enzyme cathepsin E and de novo expression of antigen-presenting human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR molecules have been detected in H. pylori-colonized gastric epithelium. These findings may be crucial in the production of a mucosal immune-inflammatory response to H. pylori infection. Cytoplasmic swelling and vacuolation, micropapillary change, mucin loss, erosion of the juxtaluminal cytoplasm and cell desquamation were the main effects of bacterial cytotoxicity on gastric surface-foveolar epithelium. Activated macrophages and granulocytes (partly linked to the mucosal IgG immune response) concentrate in the foveolar-neck region of the mucosa, where they may enhance damage and impair regeneration of the epithelium. Both direct bacterial cytotoxicity and inflammatory cell aggression against gastric epithelium may predispose the patient to peptic ulcer disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-21
Number of pages11
JournalScandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue numberS205
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • Antigen transport
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Endosome
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Immune response
  • Processing and presentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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