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J Exp Med. 2000 Dec 4;192(11):1601-10.

Virulence factors of Helicobacter pylori responsible for gastric diseases in Mongolian gerbil.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8655, Japan.


Helicobacter pylori infection induces various gastroduodenal diseases. We examined the role of two genes, vacA and cagE, in the gastric pathogenesis induced by H. pylori using a long-term (62 wk) animal model. Reportedly, both genes are associated with the virulence of H. pylori: vacA encodes vacuolating cytotoxin, and cagE, with other genes in the cag pathogenicity islands, encodes a type IV secretion system. Mongolian gerbils were challenged in this study by a wild-type TN2 strain and its isogenic mutants of cagE or vacA. The wild-type and vacA mutants induced severe gastritis, whereas cagE mutants induced far milder changes. Gastric ulcer was induced at the highest rate (22/23) by the wild-type TN2, followed by the vacA mutant (19/28). No ulcer was found in the gerbils infected with the cagE mutant (0/27) or in controls (0/27). Intestinal metaplasia was also found in the gerbils infected with the wild-type (14/23) or vacA mutant (15/28). Gastric cancer developed in one gerbil with wild-type infection and in one with vacA mutant infection. In conclusion, the knocking out of the cagE gene deprived wild-type H. pylori of the pathogenicity for gastritis and gastric ulcer, suggesting that the secretion system encoded by cag pathogenicity island genes plays an essential role.

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