Helicobacter pylori has been identified as one of the major causes of chronic gastritis, gastric and duodenal ulcers, and gastric cancer. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a major component of the outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria, and H. pylori LPS might play an exclusively important role in activating inflammatory pathways in monocytes and macrophages. To study the role of LPS in the underlying mechanism of inflammatory responses, we established an in vitro model using the human AGS gastric cancer cell line. We found that LPS mediates inflammation through setting off a cascade of events: activation of the store-operated calcium (SOC) channel, initiation of downstream NF-κB signaling, and phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2). Phosphorylated ERK1/2 promotes the nuclear translocation of NF-κB, and eventually elevates the expression level of COX-2, a major inflammatory gene.
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