Like Helicobacter pylori, “Candidatus H. heilmannii” can infect the human gastric mucosa. “Candidatus H. heilmannii” infection is strongly associated with contact with animals since this bacterium has a very large number of known mammalian host species. Epidemiological studies have revealed that the infection rate of “Candidatus H. heilmannii” is higher in patients suffering from mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT)-type gastric B-cell lymphomas than in those with any other upper gastrointestinal tract disease, and that most upper gastrointestinal tract diseases have a less than 1% infection rate of “Candidatus H. heilmannii”. In mouse models of infection, “Candidatus H. heilmannii” infection induces gastric MALT lymphoma with a high probability. Unfortunately, “Candidatus H. heilmannii” grown in the mouse or human stomach has not yet been cultivated in vitro, and the mechanism by which this bacterium contributes to the pathogenesis of gastric MALT lymphoma remains obscure. Therefore, in order to improve measures for preventing and treating gastric MALT lymphoma, there is currently a vital need to improve our understanding of “Candidatus H. heilmannii” infection.
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