The mechanisms by which H. pylori colonizes and persists within the gastric mucosa are poorly understood. The induction and maintenance of gastric inflammation appear to depend on the complex interaction between a number of cytokines and chemokines. The gastric immune response observed "in vivo", during H. pylori infection, is characterized by a polarization of Th1 cell type that seems to be responsible for gastric pathology. The purpose of this study was to test the direct effect of H. pylori (live or gentamicin-killed) on human PBMC in order to evaluate the "in vitro" Th1-Th2 balance by monitoring IL-18, IFNgamma and IL-10 production. This study demonstrates for the first time that "in vitro" pretreatment with gentamicin-killed H. pylori of PBMC, followed by infection with live bacteria, downregulates the production of inflammatory cytokines such as IL-18 and IFNgamma Our results provide a possible strategy to restore the immunological disorders determined by H. pylori infection.