Helicobacter pylori is a major aetiologic agent associated with gastritis. H. pylori infections increase the expression of the Toll-like receptor (TLR), which in turn modulates the expression of microRNA (miRNA)-146a and miRNA-155. The objective of this study was to compare the expression of miRNA-146a and miRNA-155 in gastric lesions of paediatric and adult patients with different pathologies and in Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus) infected with H. pylori 26,695.
Quantification of miRNA expression was performed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) of paraffin-embedded gastric lesions of children with or without an infection (n = 25), adults with follicular gastritis and metaplasia (n = 32) and eight-week-old M. unguiculatus males (Hsd:MON) infected with H. pylori 26,695 for 0, 3, 6, 12 and 18 months (n = 25). The genes RNU48 and RNU6 were used as endogenous controls for data normalization. Statistical analyses were performed using Kruskal-Wallis, Mann-Whitney, ANOVA and Student's t-test.
The expression of miRNA-146a and miRNA-155 in infected children increased by 247.6- and 79.4-fold (on average), respectively, compared to that observed in the control group. However, these results were not significant (p = 0.12 and p = 0.07 respectively). In some children a gradual increase in expression was observed, while in others, expression was very high. Additionally, the expression levels of miRNA-146a and miRNA-155 increased by an average of 21.7- and 62-fold, respectively, in adult patients with follicular gastritis when compared to those of the controls. In M. unguiculatus infected with H. pylori 26,695, the expression of both miRNAs increased as the infection progressed.
This is the first report to show differences in the expression of miRNA-146a and miRNA-155 in paediatric and adult patients with gastritis who were infected with H. pylori. In addition, in M. unguiculatus infected with H. pylori, miRNA expression was associated with the progression of infection and the ability of the bacteria to adapt to the host.