Background: Mouse infection studies have shown that interferon-γ (IFN-γ), a T helper 1 (Th1) cytokine, is required for the development of severe pathology induced by chronic Helicobacter infection. This finding is largely based on studies performed using mice that have polarised Th1 responses i.e. C57BL/6 animals. The current work aims to investigate the role of IFN-γ in Helicobacter-induced inflammation in BALB/c mice which have Th2-polarised immune responses. Results: At 7 months post-infection with Helicobacter felis, IFN-γ deficiency in BALB/c mice had no significant effect on H. felis colonisation levels in the gastric mucosa, nor on humoral responses, or gastritis severity. Ifng −/− animals with chronic H. felis infection did, however, develop significantly fewer lymphoid follicle lesions, as well as increased IL-4 splenocyte responses, when compared with infected Ifng +/+ mice (P = 0.015 and P = 0.0004, respectively). Conclusions: The work shows that in mice on a BALB/c background, IFN-γ is not required for bacterial clearance, antibody responses, nor gastric inflammation. Conversely, IFN-γ appears to play a role in the development of gastric lymphoid follicles, which are precursor lesions to mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma. This study highlights the importance of mouse host background on the susceptibility to Helicobacter-induced pathologies.
- Gastric inflammation
- Lymphoid follicle
- MALT lymphoma
- Mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue
- T helper response