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J Med Microbiol. 1990 Sep;33(1):61-6.

Ultrastructure of a spiral micro-organism from pig gastric mucosa ("Gastrospirillum suis").

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Laboratory of Research in Bacteriology, Faculdade de Medicina UFMG, Belo Horizonte, MG.


The ultrastructural features of a helical-shaped bacterium occurring in the stomach of pigs, within the mucus on the mucosal surface of antral pits, were examined. The bacterial cell had three to eight spiral turns, flattened and truncated ends and was approximately 4.0 microns long and 0.6 microns wide. In some sections, up to six flagella, about 22 nm in diameter, were seen arising from each pole. The cytoplasm contained sparse, irregular granules, numerous ribosomes and large single-layered membrane-bound granules. In the flagella insertion area, there was a highly electron-dense component, the "polar membrane". This micro-organism differed from similar bacteria described in cats, dogs and monkeys, and may cause inflammation in the antral mucosa of pigs similar to Helicobacter pylori infection in man. Furthermore, it was morphologically similar to the spiral micro-organism distinct from H. pylori which has been described recently in human antral mucosa from patients with gastritis and may be of potential significance as a pathogen in man. The name "Gastrospirillum suis" is proposed for this bacterium.

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