Helicobacter pylori infection in a pig model is dominated by Th1 and cytotoxic CD8+ T cell responses

Infect Immun. 2013 Oct;81(10):3803-13. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00660-13. Epub 2013 Jul 29.


Helicobacter pylori infection is the leading cause for peptic ulcer disease and gastric adenocarcinoma. Mucosal T cell responses play an important role in mediating H. pylori-related gastric immunopathology. While induced regulatory T (iTreg) cells are required for chronic colonization without disease, T helper 1 (Th1) effector responses are associated with lower bacterial loads at the expense of gastric pathology. Pigs were inoculated with either H. pylori strain SS1 or J99. Phenotypic and functional changes in peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) populations were monitored weekly, and mucosal immune responses and bacterial loads were assessed up to 2 months postinfection. Both H. pylori strains elicited a Th1 response characterized by increased percentages of CD4(+)Tbet(+) cells and elevated gamma interferon (IFN-γ) mRNA in PBMCs. A subset of CD8(+) T cells expressing Tbet and CD16 increased following infection. Moreover, a significant increase in perforin and granzyme mRNA expression was observed in PBMCs of infected pigs, indicating a predominant cytotoxic immune response. Infiltration of B cells, myeloid cells, T cells expressing Treg- and Th17-associated transcription factors, and cytotoxic T cells was found in the gastric lamina propria of both infected groups. Interestingly, based on bacterial reisolation data, strain SS1 showed greater capacity to colonize and/or persist in the gastric mucosa than did strain J99. This novel pig model of infection closely mimics human gastric pathology and presents a suitable avenue for studying effector and regulatory responses toward H. pylori described in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • Helicobacter Infections / immunology
  • Helicobacter Infections / microbiology
  • Helicobacter Infections / veterinary*
  • Helicobacter pylori / physiology*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear
  • Lymph Nodes
  • Spleen / metabolism
  • Stomach Diseases / microbiology
  • Stomach Diseases / veterinary
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases / microbiology*
  • Th1 Cells / physiology*
  • Up-Regulation