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J Vet Intern Med. 2006 Jul-Aug;20(4):822-7.

Association of Helicobacter with cholangiohepatitis in cats.

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College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Infection with Helicobacter spp. is increasingly linked with hepatobiliary inflammation and neoplasia in people and in a variety of animals. We sought to determine if Helicobacter species infection is associated with cholangiohepatitis in cats. Deoxyribonucleic acid was extracted from tissue blocks from cats with cholangiohepatitis (32), noninflammatory liver disease (13), and cats with normal liver histology (4). Deoxyribonucleic acid was polymerase chain reaction-amplified with 2 sets of Helicobacter genus-specific primers, gel purified, and sequenced. Polymerase chain reaction-positive hepatic tissue was further examined with Steiner's stain, immunocytochemistry for Helicobacter species, and eubacterial fluorescent in situ hybridization. Gastric tissues of cats with known Helicobacter infection status served as controls for deoxyribonucleic acid extraction and sequence comparison. Helicobacter species were detected in 2/32 cats with cholangiohepatitis, and 1/17 controls. Sequences had 100% identity with Helicobacter species liver, Helicobacter pylori, and Helicobacter fenelliae/cinaedii in a cat with suppurative cholangitis, Helicobacter species liver, Helicobacter pylori, and Helicobacter nemistrineae in a cat with mild lymphocytic portal hepatitis, and Helicobacter bilis in a cat with portosystemic vascular anomaly. In contrast, sequences from gastric biopsies showed highest homology (99-100%) to "Helicobacter heilmannii," Helicobacter bizzozeronii, Helicobacter felis, and Helicobacter salomonis. Fluorescent in situ hybridization revealed a semicurved bacterium, with Helicobacter-like morphology, in an intrahepatic bile duct of the cat with suppurative cholangitis. This study has identified Helicobacter deoxyribonucleic acid in 2/32 cats with cholangiohepatitis and 1/13 cats with noninflammatory liver disease. Deoxyribonucleic acid sequences of hepatic Helicobacter species were distinct from those found in the stomach and are broadly consistent with those identified in cat intestine and bile, and hepatobiliary disease in people and rodents.

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