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Infect Immun. 2009 May;77(5):2147-58. doi: 10.1128/IAI.01395-08. Epub 2009 Feb 17.

Concurrent Helicobacter bilis infection in C57BL/6 mice attenuates proinflammatory H. pylori-induced gastric pathology.

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Division of Comparative Medicine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Ave., Bldg. 16-825, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Because coinfections can alter helicobacter gastritis, we investigated whether enterohepatic Helicobacter bilis modulates Helicobacter pylori gastritis in C57BL/6 mice. Thirty mice per group were sham dosed, H. bilis or H. pylori infected, or H. bilis infected followed in 2 weeks by H. pylori and then evaluated at 6 and 11 months postinfection (mpi) for gastritis and premalignant lesions. Compared to H. pylori-infected mice, H. bilis/H. pylori-infected mice at 6 and 11 mpi had less severe gastritis, atrophy, mucous metaplasia and hyperplasia (P < 0.01) and, additionally, at 11 mpi, less severe intestinal metaplasia and dysplasia (P < 0.05). H. bilis/H. pylori-infected mice at 11 mpi exhibited less Ki67 labeling of proliferating epithelial cells, reduced numbers of FoxP3(+) T-regulatory (T(REG)) cells, and lower FoxP3(+) mRNA levels than did H. pylori-infected mice (P < 0.05). Proinflammatory interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta), gamma interferon, and tumor necrosis factor alpha mRNA levels were attenuated in H. bilis/H. pylori-infected mice at 6 and 11 mpi (P < 0.01), although anti-inflammatory IL-10, IL-13, and transforming growth factor beta1 mRNA levels were not consistently impacted by H. bilis coinfection. Decreased pathology in H. bilis/H. pylori-infected mice correlated with higher gastric H. pylori colonization at 6 mpi (P < 0.001) and lower Th1-associated immunoglobulin G2c responses to H. pylori at 6 and 10 mpi (P < 0.05). We hypothesized that reduced pathology in H. bilis/H. pylori-infected mice was due to H. bilis-primed T(REG) cells in the lower bowel that migrated to the gastric compartment and inhibited Th1 responses to subsequent H. pylori infection. Thus, H. pylori-induced gastric lesions may vary in mouse models of unknown enteric helicobacter infection status and, importantly, variable sequelae to human H. pylori infection, particularly in developing countries, may occur where coinfection with lower bowel helicobacters and H. pylori may be common.

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