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. 2006 Apr;11(2):113-22.
doi: 10.1111/j.1523-5378.2006.00385.x.

Mucosal Immunization With a Urease B DNA Vaccine Induces Innate and Cellular Immune Responses Against Helicobacter Pylori


Mucosal Immunization With a Urease B DNA Vaccine Induces Innate and Cellular Immune Responses Against Helicobacter Pylori

Caterina Hatzifoti et al. Helicobacter. .


Background: Helicobacter pylori is recognized as a major risk factor for recurrent gastroduodenal inflammatory diseases and gastric adenocarcinoma. The high prevalence of H. pylori infection worldwide, the risks of side-effects from antibiotic therapy, and increasing resistance to antibiotics are the main primers for the development of improved H. pylori vaccines. The antigenic potential of its urease enzyme, a critical virulence factor required for colonization of the gastric mucosa, has been demonstrated in animal and human studies. An important but controversial issue in H. pylori vaccine studies is the type of immune response required to control infection. A new approach in H. pylori vaccinology is the administration of DNA vaccines, which has included heat-shock protein and catalase DNA vaccines.

Materials and methods: The H. pylori urease subunit B construct or vector alone was administered to mice via the intranasal route. Spleens and stomachs were examined on day 0 and weeks 3, 6, and 12 after immunization. Proliferation of spleen cells was assessed using the carboxyfluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester-based flow cytometry assay and cytokine secretion from cultured spleen cells was detected by ELISA, after stimulation with the urease subunit B recombinant antigen. Total RNA was isolated from stomach and spleen tissue and the expression of beta-defensin and cytokine genes was monitored by reverse transcription followed by polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Immunized mice were challenged with H. pylori and bacterial DNA quantified by TaqMan PCR.

Results: The urease B subunit DNA vaccine increased INF-gamma secretion and splenocyte proliferation without inducing adverse effects in the spleen. Increase in gastric beta-defensin 1 and marked induction in local IL-10 : IFN-gamma ratio up to 12 weeks post-immunization suggest a potential role for local innate immune responses in protection at the site of infection. Although significant bacterial reduction in the stomachs of urease B subunit DNA-immunized mice was observed, intermediate reduction was also noted in the vector group. Increased defensin expression and adjuvant effects of the cytosine preceding guanosine motifs may contribute to this phenomenon. Our data confirm that cytosine preceding guanosine motifs, even without coadministration with antigen, can reduce extracellular bacterial load.

Conclusions: In this study, a DNA construct encoding the urease B subunit was assessed for its immune profile and its ability to reduce bacterial colonization in the murine stomach. Our studies suggest that local innate immune responses may play a greater role than previously supposed in limiting H. pylori colonization in the gastric mucosa.

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