Helicobacter pylori colonizes the stomachs of half of the world's population and usually persists in the gastric mucosa of human hosts for decades or life. Although most H. pylori-positive people are asymptomatic, the presence of H. pylori is associated with increased risk for the development of peptic ulcer disease, gastric adenocarcinoma and gastric lymphoma. The development of a sustained gastric inflammatory and immune response to infection appears to be pivotal for the development of disease. During its long co-existence with humans, H. pylori has evolved complex strategies to maintain a mild inflammation of the gastric epithelium while limiting the extent of immune effector activity. In this review, the nature of the host immune response to H. pylori infection and the mechanism employed by the bacterium to evade them is considered. Understanding the mechanisms of colonization, persistence and virulence factors of the bacterium as well as the innate and adaptive immune responses of the host are critically important for the development of new strategies to prevent the development of H. pylori-induced gastroduodenal disease.

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