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Am J Pathol. 1999 Aug;155(2):571-82.

Differential susceptibility to hepatic inflammation and proliferation in AXB recombinant inbred mice chronically infected with Helicobacter hepaticus.

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  • 1Division of Comparative Medicine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.


Helicobacter hepaticus is a naturally occurring pathogen of mice and has been used to develop models of chronic hepatitis, liver cancer, and, more recently, inflammatory bowel disease, in selected mouse strains. A/JCr mice are particularly susceptible to H. hepaticus-induced hepatitis and subsequent development of liver neoplasms, whereas C57BL/6 mice are resistant. In this study, we inoculated nine AXB recombinant inbred (RI) mouse strains, derived from A/J and C57BL/6 mice, with H. hepaticus to determine the genetic basis of resistance to Helicobacter-induced liver disease. Mice were surveyed 14 months after inoculation by culture and PCR for H. hepaticus colonization of the liver and cecum, and microscopic morphometric evaluations of the liver were performed to quantify and correlate the severity of inflammation, apoptosis, and proliferation. Analysis of variance of hepatic inflammation demonstrated significant variation among the RI strains (P < 0.0001), and the strain distribution pattern suggested a multigenic basis of disease resistance. Quantitative trait analysis using linear regression suggested possible linkage to loci on mouse chromosome 19. Hepatocellular and biliary epithelial apoptosis and proliferation indices, including proliferation of oval cells, were markedly increased and correlated with severity of inflammation. Prevalence of hepatic neoplasia was also increased in susceptible RI strains. These findings demonstrate a genetic basis for susceptibility to Helicobacter-induced disease and provide insight into its pathogenesis.

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