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Clin Exp Immunol. 2003 Oct;134(1):32-7.

Childhood Helicobacter pylori infection in a murine model: maternal transmission and eradication by systemic immunization using bacterial antigen-aluminium hydroxide.

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Department of Paediatrics, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.


In humans, transmission of Helicobacter pylori is thought to occur largely during childhood. Infected mothers are generally considered to be the main source of the pathogen. However, little is known about when and how often maternal transmission of H. pylori occurs during childhood. In the present study, we examined these issues in an experimental murine model. Pregnant C57BL/6 mice, infected experimentally with H. pylori, delivered and nursed their litters. The stomachs of the infants were isolated and assessed for transmission of H. pylori. We also investigated the effect of systemic immunization using H. pylori antigen-aluminium hydroxide (AlOH) with regard to providing anti-H. pylori immunity and eradicating the maternally transmitted bacteria in infants. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to examine the presence of transmitted bacteria and their eradication. Maternal transmission of H. pylori varied widely during the nursing period, but almost all litters showed bacterial transmission at 2 weeks postpartum. Systemic immunization with bacterial antigen-AlOH eradicated the bacteria in most litters; this immunization induced a local decrease of Th2 cytokines and a local increase of Th1 cytokines in the gastric tissue, as determined by ELISA. Our results indicate that our H. pylori vaccine provides not only protection, but also eradication of the already transmitted H. pylori.

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