Helicobacter suis Causes Severe Gastric Pathology in Mouse and Mongolian Gerbil Models of Human Gastric Disease

Bram Flahou*, Freddy Haesebrouck, Frank Pasmans, Katharina D'Herde, Ann Driessen, Kim Van Deun, Annemieke Smet, Luc Duchateau, Koen Chiers, Richard Ducatelle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Helicobacter (H.) heilmannii type 1 is the most prevalent gastric non-H. pylori Helicobacter species in humans suffering from gastric disease. It has been shown to be identical to H. suis, a bacterium which is mainly associated with pigs. To obtain better insights into the long-term pathogenesis of infections with this micro-organism, experimental infections were carried out in different rodent models. Methodology/Principal Findings: Mongolian gerbils and mice of two strains (BALB/c and C57BL/6) were infected with H. suis and sacrificed at 3 weeks, 9 weeks and 8 months after infection. Gastric tissue samples were collected for PCR analysis, histological and ultrastructural examination. In gerbils, bacteria mainly colonized the antrum and a narrow zone in the fundus near the forestomach/stomach transition zone. In both mice strains, bacteria colonized the entire glandular stomach. Colonization with H. suis was associated with necrosis of parietal cells in all three animal strains. From 9 weeks after infection onwards, an increased proliferation rate of mucosal epithelial cells was detected in the stomach regions colonized with H. suis. Most gerbils showed a marked lymphocytic infiltration in the antrum and in the forestomach/stomach transition zone, becoming more pronounced in the course of time. At 8 months post infection, severe destruction of the normal antral architecture at the inflamed sites and development of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma-like lesions were observed in some gerbils. In mice, the inflammatory response was less pronounced than in gerbils, consisting mainly of mononuclear cell infiltration and being most severe in the fundus. Conclusions/Significance: H. suis causes death of parietal cells, epithelial cell hyperproliferation and severe inflammation in mice and Mongolian gerbil models of human gastric disease. Moreover, MALT lymphoma-like lesions were induced in H. suis-infected Mongolian gerbils. Therefore, the possible involvement of this micro-organism in human gastric disease should not be neglected.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2010

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