So... here. As promised in Pensées from Moi.
Original publishing date: March 15, 2010.
Original Title: I rant against Helicobacter pylori...
... the focus of a well-written review e-published recently in the Nature Group journal Cellular and Molecular Immunology: Interplay between Helicobacter pylori and immune cells in immune pathogenesis of gastric inflammation and mucosal pathology (PMID: 20190789) by two investigators from the Taipel Medical University, HF Tsai and PN Hsu.
The bleep-ing bug, H. pylori, is a Gram-negative, micro-aerophilic, curved-rod/helix shaped, flagellate bacterium - a human pathogen that infects more than half the population of the world. Upon entering the stomach, H. pylori colonizes by attaching to the gastric epithelium, evades mucosal immunity by parking itself beneath the mucus in spots adjacent to the epithelium (which have a more neutral pH), and invades the gastric mucosa. Infection with H. pylori is associated with a chronic inflammatory response in the gastric mucosa, as well as enhanced apoptosis of the gastric epithelial cells, which leading to chronic gastritis, peptic and duodenal ulcers, gastric carcinoma and gastric mucosa-associated (now known as 'Marginal Zone') lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphomas. Interaction between the CCL20 (of the C-C chemokine family) and the chemokine receptor CCR6 recruits CD3+ T-cells to the sites of inflammation in the gastric mucosal epithelium inducing mucosal injury.
What's my beef with the damned bug, you ask? I recently found out I have been unwittingly harboring it, its grandmother and cousins et al. Can you imagine the sneakiness, the audacity, the under-bleeping-handedness of this bug? And now I must endure at least a fortnights' assault on my system by a combination of two antibiotics (amoxicillin and clarithromycin) and a proton-pump inhibitor (lansoprazole).
Oh, the horrors! Feel my wrath - I curse thee to eternal damnation (not to mention, antibiotic-induced death), wretched bug!
PS. For a general understanding, the Wikipedia article on H. pylori is quite informative.