JOURNAL ARTICLE

Role of Treg and TH17 cells of the gastric mucosa in children with Helicobacter pylori gastritis

Joo Hyun Gil, Jeong Wan Seo, Min-Sun Cho, Jung-Hyuck Ahn, Hye Youn Sung
Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition 2014, 58 (2): 245-51
24121150

OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study was to examine the expression of FOXP3, interleukin (IL)-10, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, IL-17A, and T helper 17 (TH17) cells/FOXP3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells balance in the gastric mucosa of children with Helicobacter pylori infection, in relation to the gastric histopathology.

METHODS: Antral mucosal biopsies were obtained from 20 children with H pylori(+) gastritis and 20 age- and sex-matched normal controls. Histopathology was assessed by the updated Sydney classification. Gene expression of FOXP3, IL-10, and TGF-β1 was analyzed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Immunohistochemical staining for FOXP3+ Treg and TH17 cells was performed.

RESULTS: The gene expression levels of FOXP3, TGF-β1, and IL-10 messenger RNA (mRNA) and the number of FOXP3+ Treg were significantly higher in the H pylori(+) gastritis group than in the control group (P < 0.01). FOXP3 mRNA levels were correlated positively with TGF-β1 and IL-10 mRNA levels in the H pylori(+) gastritis group (P < 0.05). Furthermore, FOXP3 mRNA levels were correlated positively with the bacterial density, infiltration of polymorphonuclear cells, and mononuclear cells in the H pylori(+) gastritis group (P < 0.05). The number of TH17 cells was significantly higher in the H pylori(+) gastritis group than in the control group (P < 0.05). In addition, the number of TH17 cells was correlated negatively with the bacterial density and positively with the inflammatory scores of polymorphonuclear cells and mononuclear cells in the H pylori(+) gastritis group (P < 0.05). A negative correlation between the TH17 cells/FOXP3+ Treg ratio and the bacterial density was demonstrated in the H pylori(+) gastritis group (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: This study suggested that a TH17/Treg balance toward a Treg-biased response favors the persistence of bacteria, causing chronic active gastritis.

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