Immunization with a whole-cell sonicate vaccine of Helicobacter felis in conjunction with cholera toxin as a mucosal adjuvant induces long-term protective immunity in a majority of laboratory mice. We have combined gene expression profiling and immunohistochemical analysis on a set of immunized animals to better understand the mechanism of protection. The stomachs of protected animals exhibited a strikingly different transcriptional profile compared with those of nonprotected or control mice, indicating that vaccination targets the appropriate site and leaves a molecular signature. Among the genes whose up-regulation is significantly correlated with protection are a number of adipocyte-specific factors. These include the fat-cell-specific cytokines adipsin, resistin, and adiponectin and the adipocyte surface marker CD36. Interestingly, potentially protective T and B lymphocytes can be found embedded in the adipose tissue surrounding protected stomachs but never in control or unprotected stomachs. Adipsin-specific immunohistochemical staining of protected stomach sections further revealed molecular cross-talk between adjacent lymphoid and adipose cell populations. We propose a mechanism of protection that involves the effector responses of either or both lymphocyte subclasses as well as the previously unappreciated paracrine functions of adipose tissue surrounding the resident lymphocytes.