Going from ulcers to cancer

Aug 22, 2008

Researchers have uncovered a big clue as to why some of the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers pose a greater risk for serious problems like stomach cancer than others; it turns out these bacteria can exploit the surrounding stomach cells to protect them from the immune system.

Helicobacter pylori is a bacterial strain that can infect the human stomach and induce inflammation, ulcers, and potentially even stomach cancer. However, only a small fraction of H. pylori infections ultimately lead to cancer, leading researchers to figure out what biological events will trigger this path.

One type of H. pylori strain that seems to increase disease risk is the cag+ strain, which contains a set of proteins that allows it to inject bacterial proteins into cells following attachment to the stomach lining; this interaction between bacteria and gastric cells may be a key contributor to chronic damage.

Richard Peek and colleagues investigated a cag+ strain in mouse models of H. pylori infection and found that a protein called CagE could induce gastric cells to turn on a receptor called Decay-accelerating factor (DAF); DAF acts to remove nearby immune proteins that can kill cells to prevent unwanted immune damage.

In essence, the bacteria use the DAF receptor on the host cell they're attached to like a bodyguard to protect them from the immune system. Peek and colleagues also note that by continually inducing DAF expression, H. pylori creates an environment of persistent inflammation that can reduce the threshold required for more serious diseases to develop.

Source: American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Explore further: Medical device surveillance on the horizon

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Parasite provides clues to evolution of plant diseases

1 hour ago

A new study into the generalist parasite Albugo candida (A. candida), cause of white rust of brassicas, has revealed key insights into the evolution of plant diseases to aid agriculture and global food security.

Recommended for you

Endocrine disruptors cause fatty liver

5 hours ago

Exposure to low doses of hormone-disrupting chemicals early in life can alter gene expression in the liver as well as liver function, increasing the susceptibility to obesity and other metabolic diseases in adulthood, a new ...

Extended pre-cessation bupropion helps smokers quit

9 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Extended pre-quit bupropion is associated with reduced smoking behavior during the pre-quit period and improved short-term abstinence rates, according to a study published online Jan. 14 in ...

Medical device surveillance on the horizon

10 hours ago

Thousands of people around the world have been exposed to toxic chemicals generated by their metal hip implants. Similarly, many patients have contracted infections from pieces of implanted mesh used in hernia-repair surgery, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.