Helicobacter pylori induces apoptosis in gastric epithelial cells through inducible nitric oxide

J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2000 Feb;15(2):168-74. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1746.2000.02062.x.


Background: Gastric mucosal injury by Helicobacter pylori has been suggested to be mediated by various cytokines induced by this organism. Nitric oxide (NO) is an important effector molecule involved in immune regulation and defence. To clarify the mechanisms by which H. pylori induces gastric mucosal cell injury, we examined whether H. pylori induces gastric epithelial death via NO production.

Methods: Cytotoxic and non-cytotoxic strains of H. pylori were used. The death of MKN45 cells caused by H. pylori was examined by the 3-(4,5-dimethyl-thiazole-2yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assays. Aminoguanidine was used to inhibit inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) activity. Expression of iNOS mRNA was determined by the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and the DNA fragmentation analysis was performed by using agarose gel electrophoresis.

Results: The MTT assay revealed that neither viable H. pylori nor other components of the microorganism induced cell death. Both preincubation of MKN45 cells with interferon-gamma for 6 h and coculture with TNF-alpha significantly increased the cytotoxicity of H. pylori. Both cytotoxic and non-cytotoxic strains of H. pylori induced cell death. Expression of iNOS mRNA was observed in MKN45 cells at 6, 8 and 12 h after H. pylori inoculation. The cytotoxicity of H. pylori was inhibited by aminoguanidine and DNA fragmentation analysis showed that H. pylori induced apoptosis.

Conclusions: These findings suggested that viable H. pylori induces apoptosis of gastric epithelial cells via nitric oxide. Our study indicated that iNOS expression plays an important role in gastric cell injury.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis*
  • Cell Line
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Gastric Mucosa / cytology
  • Gastric Mucosa / microbiology*
  • Helicobacter pylori*
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / biosynthesis*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Nitric Oxide
  • NOS2 protein, human
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II