COLUMBUS, Ohio - A new study in mice suggests that a treatment using a specific type of immune cell can eradicate the ulcer-causing bacteria Helicobacter pylori.
The research found that mice with deficient immune systems completely recovered from infections with H. pylori after they were treated with healthy spleen cells. After that treatment, no trace of the bacteria was found in the stomachs of these mice.
"These mice initially had a quick and severe reaction to the ulcer-causing bacteria," said Kathryn Eaton, a study co-author and an associate professor of veterinary biosciences at Ohio State University. "But the reaction was completely reversed in a matter of months, and the bacteria also disappeared."
The research appears in a recent issue of the journal Infection and Immunity. Eaton co-authored the study with Megan Mefford, a research assistant at Ohio State.
Scientists know that H. pylori causes stomach ulcers in humans. The body typically responds to the bacterial infection with a condition called gastritis, an inflammation of the stomach lining. Antibiotics help control the growth and spread of the bacteria, but medication doesn't always completely eliminate it. And while gastritis may help control H. pylori levels, it can also damage the stomach.