The objective of this study was to understand more of the innate immune response to Helicobacter pylori by determining the expression of human beta-defensin-2 (hBD-2) in various gastric mucosal tissues and MKN45 gastric cancer cells with or without H. pylori. Semi-quantitative TaqMan RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry were carried out. The antimicrobial effects of a transfected hBD-2 gene against H. pylori were also evaluated. The results showed that hBD-2 was expressed in inflamed gastric mucosal tissues with H. pylori infection, but not in the absence of H. pylori infection. Expression was also detected in gastric cancers in patients with H. pylori infection. Expression was induced in the MKN45 gastric cancer cell line by H. pylori in a manner dependent on the abundance of bacteria. hBD-2-transfected 3T3J2-1 cells secreted hBD-2 protein into the culture medium and this protein inhibited growth of H. pylori completely. The results suggest that hBD-2 may be involved in the pathophysiology of H. pylori-induced gastritis.