Helicobacter pylori is a gram negative bacterium which resides in the mucosa of the human stomach. It is one of the most common bacterial infections in man worldwide and was classified as a type I carcinogen for the development of stomach cancer. Bacterial virulence, host and environmental factors play an important role in the clinical outcome of H. pylori infections. Previous studies have shown that activation of the host immune system, with transfer of monocytes and macrophages to the site of infection, are an important cause of damage to the stomach wall. These cells produces reactive oxygen species (ROS) to kill the bacterium, but also cause damage to the host's tissue.
The goal of this project is to obtain better knowledge in the role of ROS in the pathogenesis of H. pylori infections and to correlate with bacterial virulencefactors (CagA, VacA, ...). The first focus will be on the development of a cell line and animal infection model with a H. pylori reference strain. This model will be used to study the role of ROS in the pathogenesis. Later on, clinical samples will be characterised for virulence factors and will be used as inoculum in new animal studies. This will help us understand the importance of oxidative stress and bacterial virulence factors in the pathogenesis of H. pylori infections.