IL-21 is highly produced in Helicobacter pylori-infected gastric mucosa and promotes gelatinases synthesis

Roberta Caruso, Daniele Fina, Ilaria Peluso, Massimo Claudio Fantini, Claudio Tosti, Giovanna Del Vecchio Blanco, Omero Alessandro Paoluzi, Flavio Caprioli, Fabio Andrei, Carmine Stolfi, Marco Romano, Vittorio Ricci, Thomas T. MacDonald, Francesco Pallone, Giovanni Monteleone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Helicobacter pylori (Hp) infection is associated with gastric inflammation and ulceration. The pathways of tissue damage in Hp-infected subjects are complex, but evidence indicates that T cell-derived cytokines enhance the synthesis of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) that contribute to mucosal ulceration and epithelial damage. In this study, we have examined the role of the T cell cytokine IL-21 in Hp-infected gastric mucosa and evaluated whether IL-21 regulates MMP production by gastric epithelial cells. We show that IL-21 is constitutively expressed in gastric mucosa and is more abundant in biopsy specimens and purified mucosal CD3+ T cells from Hp-infected patients compared with normal patients and disease controls. We also demonstrate that IL-21R is expressed by primary gastric epithelial cells, as well as by the gastric epithelial cell lines AGS and MKN28. Consistently, AGS cells respond to IL-21 by increasing production of MMP-2 and MMP-9, but not MMP-1, MMP-3, MMP-7, or tissue inhibitors of MMP. Analysis of signaling pathways leading to MMP production reveals that IL-21 enhances NF-κB but not MAPK activation, and inhibition of NF-κB activation reduces IL-21-induced MMP-2 and MMP-9 production. Finally, we show that treatment of Hp-infected gastric explants with anti-IL-21 reduces epithelial cell-derived MMP-2 and MMP-9 production. These data indicate that IL-21 is overexpressed in Hp-infected gastric mucosa where it could contribute to increased epithelial gelatinase production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5957-5965
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'IL-21 is highly produced in Helicobacter pylori-infected gastric mucosa and promotes gelatinases synthesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this