Helicobacter pylori infection triggers a cascade of inflammatory stages that may lead to the appearance of non-atrophic gastritis, multifocal atrophic, intestinal metaplasia, dysplasia, and cancer. Deleted in malignant brain tumors 1 (DMBT1) belongs to the group of secreted scavenger receptor cysteine-rich proteins and is considered to be involved in host defense by binding to pathogens. Initial studies showed its deletion and loss of expression in a variety of tumors but the role of this gene in tumor development is not completely understood. Here, we examined the role of DMBT1 in gastric precancerous lesions in Caucasian, African American and Hispanic individuals as well as in the development of gastric pathology in a mouse model of H. pylori infection. We found that in 3 different populations, mucosal DMBT1 expression was significantly increased (2.5 fold) in individuals with dysplasia compared to multifocal atrophic gastritis without intestinal metaplasia; the increase was also observed in individuals with advanced gastritis and positive H. pylori infection. In our animal model, H. pylori infection of Dmbt1-/- mice resulted in significantly higher levels of gastritis, more extensive mucous metaplasia and reduced Il33 expression levels in the gastric mucosa compared to H. pylori-infected wild type mice. Our data in the animal model suggest that in response to H. pylori infection DMBT1 may mediate mucosal protection reducing the risk of developing gastric precancerous lesions. However, the increased expression in human gastric precancerous lesions points to a more complex role of DMBT1 in gastric carcinogenesis.
Keywords: DMBT1; H. pylori; gastric cancer; inflammation; precancerous gastric lesions.