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Comp Med. 2004 Oct;54(5):571-7.

Helicobacter bilis-associated hepatitis in outbred mice.

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Division of Comparative Medicine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Although Helicobacter bilis infects mice worldwide, it is not known whether H. bilis causes enterohepatic disease in outbred Swiss Webster (SW) mice. Intestinal and liver specimens from four groups of 39 SW mice, five of which were treated with creatine in the drinking water, were obtained for culture for the presence of H. bilis and were analyzed as to whether infection status was associated with H. bilis seroconversion and/or hepatitis. Helicobacter bilis was isolated from the colon of all 27 mice of groups I-III, but only from the liver of one 12- to 13-month-old female mouse. Ten of 27 livers were H. bilis-positive based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis; 8 of 10 (80%) of the positive results were for older mice. Results of PCR analysis for H. bilis were negative, and H. bilis was not isolated from 12 control mice (group IV). Irrespective of treatment group or controls, severity of histologic lobular and periportal chronic inflammatory lesions in the liver of H. bilis-infected outbred mice ranged from minimally to moderately severe. Helicobacter bilis infection was associated with increased portal inflammation in group III mice, compared with age-matched, helicobacter-free, group IV mice (P < 0.03). A comparison of potential sex effects in group III mice indicated that H. bilis-infected female mice developed more severe portal inflammation than did H. bilis-infected male mice (P < 0.01). On the basis of results of an ELISA, 8 of 11, 6- to 8-month-old H. bilis-infected mice of group III seroconverted to H. bilis outer membrane antigen. Helicobacter bilis infection is associated with hepatitis in SW mice and can confound experimental results.

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