Nanomechanical Hallmarks of Helicobacter pylori Infection in Pediatric Patients

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 May 25;22(11):5624. doi: 10.3390/ijms22115624.


Background: the molecular mechanism of gastric cancer development related to Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection has not been fully understood, and further studies are still needed. Information regarding nanomechanical aspects of pathophysiological events that occur during H. pylori infection can be crucial in the development of new prevention, treatment, and diagnostic measures against clinical consequences associated with H. pylori infection, including gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer, and gastric cancer.

Methods: in this study, we assessed mechanical properties of children's healthy and H. pylori positive stomach tissues and the mechanical response of human gastric cells exposed to heat-treated H. pylori cells using atomic force microscopy (AFM NanoWizard 4 BioScience JPK Instruments Bruker). Elastic modulus (i.e., the Young's modulus) was derived from the Hertz-Sneddon model applied to force-indentation curves. Human tissue samples were evaluated using rapid urease tests to identify H. pylori positive samples, and the presence of H. pylori cells in those samples was confirmed using immunohistopathological staining.

Results and conclusion: collected data suggest that nanomechanical properties of infected tissue might be considered as markers indicated H. pylori presence since infected tissues are softer than uninfected ones. At the cellular level, this mechanical response is at least partially mediated by cell cytoskeleton remodeling indicating that gastric cells are able to tune their mechanical properties when subjected to the presence of H. pylori products. Persistent fluctuations of tissue mechanical properties in response to H. pylori infection might, in the long-term, promote induction of cancer development.

Keywords: Helicobacter pylori; atomic force microscopy; histopathology; mechanobiology; mechanomarkers; tissue rheology.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Gastric Mucosa* / metabolism
  • Gastric Mucosa* / microbiology
  • Gastric Mucosa* / pathology
  • Helicobacter Infections* / metabolism
  • Helicobacter Infections* / pathology
  • Helicobacter pylori / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Stomach Ulcer* / metabolism
  • Stomach Ulcer* / microbiology
  • Stomach Ulcer* / pathology