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Defining the Roles of IFN-gamma and IL-17A in Inflammation and Protection against Helicobacter pylori Infection

Journal article
Authors Louise Sjökvist Ottsjö
Carl-Fredrik Flach
Staffan Nilsson
R. D. Malefyt
A. K. Walduck
Sukanya Raghavan
Published in PLoS ONE
Volume 10
Issue 7
Pages e0131444
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Mathematical Sciences, Mathematical Statistics
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Pages e0131444
Language en
Subject categories Immunology in the medical area


CD4(+) T cells have been shown to be essential for vaccine-induced protection against Helicobacter pylori infection. However, the effector mechanisms leading to reductions in the gastric bacterial loads of vaccinated mice remain unclear. We have investigated the function of IFN-gamma and IL-17A for vaccine-induced protection and inflammation (gastritis) using IFN-gamma-gene-knockout (IFN-gamma(-/-)) mice, after sublingual or intragastric immunization with H. pylori lysate antigens and cholera toxin. Bacteria were enumerated in the stomachs of mice and related to the gastritis score and cellular immune responses. We report that sublingually and intragastrically immunized IFN-gamma(-/-) mice had significantly reduced bacterial loads similar to immunized wild-type mice compared to respective unimmunized infection controls. The reduction in bacterial loads in sublingually and intragastrically immunized IFN-gamma(-/-) mice was associated with significantly higher levels of IL-17A in stomach extracts and lower gastritis scores compared with immunized wild-type mice. To study the role of IL-17A for vaccine-induced protection in sublingually immunized IFN-gamma(-/-) mice, IL-17A was neutralized in vivo at the time of infection. Remarkably, the neutralization of IL-17A in sublingually immunized IFN-gamma(-/-) mice completely abolished protection against H. pylori infection and the mild gastritis. In summary, our results suggest that IFN-gamma responses in the stomach of sublingually immunized mice promote vaccine-induced gastritis, after infection with H. pylori but that IL-17A primarily functions to reduce the bacterial load.

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