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Studies into mechanisms of immunity against Helicobacter pylori infection


Sukanya Raghavan research group

H. pylori colonizes the mucous gel layer of the human stomach and cause lifelong infection and chronic inflammation. The infection is endemic in low and middle income countries with 80-90% of adults harboring the bacteria in their stomach. In approximately 10-15% of infected individuals, chronic infection will cause peptic ulcers or gastric cancer. Management of H. pylori infection through antibiotic treatment can cure peptic ulcer disease and reduce the lifetime risk of gastric cancer. However, in countries where H. pylori is endemic, epidemiological studies have clearly shown that reinfections (after antibiotic treatment) are common, accompanied by the return of peptic ulcer disease and the risk for gastric cancer. Due to the high prevalence of infection and the risk for reinfections, vaccination of symptomatic patients would be the most cost effective way to control H. pylori-induced ulcers and gastric cancer.

Picture shows IL-17 positive staining (intense green dots) in the mouse stomach of vaccinated (right) compared to unvaccinated mouse (left)Picture shows IL-17 positive staining (intense green dots) in the mouse stomach of vaccinated (right) compared to unvaccinated mouse (left)


My group studies the mucosal immune responses to vaccination against H. pylori infection using a mouse model. We have shown that mucosal vaccination with H. pylori antigens and adjuvant reduces the bacterial load and leads to an accumulation of IFNγ and IL-17 producing cells in the stomach of mice. Our data also suggest that IL-17 is an effector cytokine crucial for the control of the bacterial load in the stomach of mice. The follow up studies planned will elucidate the function of IL-17 in the stomach and its effect on H. pylori. The project utilizes gene expression profiling, transgenic mouse models and advanced immunological approaches to define the immune effector mechanisms against H. pylori infection. The results will facilitate the design of a H. pylori mucosal vaccine for future clinical trials.


Link to publications on pubmed

Group members

Louise Sjökvist Ottsjö, PhD student
Frida Jeverstam, Master Project student

Sidansvarig: Dan Baeckström|Sidan uppdaterades: 2013-06-27

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