BH3-only protein, Bim, is a pro-apoptotic protein that mediates mitochondria-dependent cell death. However, the role of Bim in Helicobacter pylori-associated gastritis remains unclear. This study aimed to assess the cellular localization of Bim and its possible role in H. pylori-induced gastritis. The study was conducted on biopsy specimens obtained from 80 patients who underwent upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (H. pylori-negative: n = 30, positive: n = 50). Association between Bim mRNA expression and severity of gastritis was evaluated and the localization of Bim was examined by immunofluorescence. Bim mRNA expression was positively correlated with the degree of gastritis, as defined by the Sydney system. Immunohistochemical analysis confirmed increased Bim expression in H. pylori-infected gastric mucosa compared with uninfected mucosa in both humans and mice. Bim localized in myeloperoxidase- and CD138-positive cells of H. pylori-infected lamina propria and submucosa of the gastric tract, indicating that this protein is predominantly expressed in neutrophils and plasma cells. In contrast, Bim did not localize in CD20-, CD3-, or CD68-positive cells. Bim was expressed in the mitochondria, where it was partially co-localized with activated Bax and cleaved-PARP. In conclusion, Bim is expressed in neutrophils and plasma cells in H. pylori-associated gastritis, where it may participate in the termination of inflammatory response by causing mitochondria-mediated apoptosis in specific leucocytes.
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