Published online Sep 21, 2006. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v12.i35.5593
Revised: July 1, 2006
Accepted: July 7, 2006
Published online: September 21, 2006
The gastric mucosa separates the underlying tissue from the vast array of antigens that traffic through the stomach lumen. While the extreme pH of this environment is essential in aiding the activation of enzymes and food digestion, it also renders the gastric epithelium free from bacterial colonization, with the exception of one important human pathogen, H pylori. This bacterium has developed mechanisms to survive the harsh environment of the stomach, actively move through the mucosal layer, attach to the epithelium, evade immune responses, and achieve persistent colonization. While a hallmark of this infection is a marked inflammatory response with the infiltration of various immune cells into the infected gastric mucosa, the host immune response is unable to clear the infection and may actually contribute to the associated pathogenesis. Here, we review the host responses involved during infection with H pylori and how they are influenced by this bacterium.