Muc1 mucin limits both Helicobacter pylori colonization of the murine gastric mucosa and associated gastritis

Gastroenterology. 2007 Oct;133(4):1210-8. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2007.07.003. Epub 2007 Jul 10.


Background & aims: The MUC1 mucin is expressed on the cell surface of epithelial cells lining the gastric mucosa. Epidemiologic studies suggest that functional allelic variations in the MUC1 gene may play a role in human susceptibility to Helicobacter pylori-associated pathologies, including gastric adenocarcinoma. We have evaluated the impact of Muc1 expression on the colonization and pathogenesis of gastric Helicobacter infections.

Methods: Wild-type and Muc1-deficient mice were infected with H pylori and colonization and gastritis levels determined. Primary gastric cells were used to examine the impact of Muc1 expression on bacterial adherence.

Results: Mice lacking Muc1 were colonized by 5-fold more H pylori within 1 day of infection, and this difference was maintained for at least 2 months postinfection. Mice heterozygous for the null Muc1 allele developed intermediate bacterial colonization. Although wild-type mice developed only a mild gastritis when infected for 2 months with H pylori, Muc1(-/-) mice developed an atrophic gastritis marked by loss of parietal cells. We demonstrate H pylori adhesion to purified MUC1 and significantly increased adhesion to cultured murine Muc1 null gastric epithelial cells, suggesting that Muc1 acts as a decoy limiting binding to the cell surface.

Conclusions: Muc1 provides a protective barrier, which limits both acute and chronic colonization by H pylori, as well as playing a major role in limiting the inflammation induced by Helicobacter infection. We propose that Muc1 restricts access of H pylori to the epithelial surface, hence reducing exposure of the host to proinflammatory bacterial products.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation
  • Bacterial Adhesion
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gastric Mucosa / metabolism
  • Gastric Mucosa / microbiology*
  • Gastric Mucosa / pathology
  • Gastritis / metabolism
  • Gastritis / microbiology*
  • Gastritis / pathology
  • Gastritis / prevention & control
  • Helicobacter Infections / complications
  • Helicobacter Infections / immunology
  • Helicobacter Infections / metabolism
  • Helicobacter Infections / microbiology*
  • Helicobacter Infections / pathology
  • Helicobacter pylori / isolation & purification
  • Helicobacter pylori / pathogenicity*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mucin-1 / genetics
  • Mucin-1 / metabolism*
  • Parietal Cells, Gastric / metabolism
  • Parietal Cells, Gastric / microbiology
  • Protein Binding
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors


  • Mucin-1