Chronic inflammation induced by Helicobacter pylori infection is a critical factor in the development of peptic ulcer disease and gastric cancer. Central to this inflammation is the initiation of pro-inflammatory signaling cascades within epithelial cells, in particular those mediated by two sensors of bacterial cell wall components, nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-containing protein 1 (NOD1) and alpha-protein kinase 1 (ALPK1). H pylori is, however, also highly adept at mitigating inflammation in the host, thereby restricting tissue damage and favoring bacterial persistence. H pylori modulates host immune responses by altering cytokine signaling in epithelial and myeloid cells, which results in increased proliferation of regulatory T cells and downregulation of effector T-cell responses. H pylori vacuolating cytotoxin A (VacA) has been shown to play an important role in the dampening of immune responses and induction of immune tolerance capable of protecting against asthma. It is also possible to generate protective immune responses by immunization with various H pylori antigens or their epitopes, in combination with an adjuvant, though this for now has only been shown in mouse models. Novel non-toxic adjuvants, consisting of modified bacterial enterotoxins or nanoparticles, have recently been developed that may not only enhance vaccine efficacy, but also help translate candidate vaccines to the clinic. This review will summarize the main discoveries in the past year regarding host immune responses to H pylori infection, as well as the design of new vaccine approaches against this infection.
- immune tolerance
- innate immunity
- pathogen recognition molecules
- regulatory T cells
- vacuolating cytotoxin A