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Immunology. 1996 Jul;88(3):400-6.

Local immune response in Helicobacter pylori-infected cats and identification of H. pylori in saliva, gastric fluid and faeces.

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


Helicobacter pylori-infected cats were screened by culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the presence of H. pylori in salivary secretions, gastric juice, gastric tissue and faeces. H. pylori was cultured from salivary secretions in six of 12 (50%) cats and from gastric fluid samples in 11 of 12 (91%) cats. A 298 base pair polymerase chain reactions (PCR) product specific for an H. pylori 26000 MW surface protein was amplified from dental plaque samples from five of 12 (42%) cats and from the faeces of four of five (80%) cats studied. Analyses of serum and mucosal secretions by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) revealed an H. pylori-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) response, and elevated IgA anti-H. pylori antibody levels in salivary and local gastric secretions. Immunohistochemical analyses of gastric tissue revealed the presence of IgM+ B cells assembled into multiple lymphoid follicles surrounded by clusters of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. The lamina propria also contained single cells or aggregates of IgA+ and IgM+ B cells. These observations show that H. pylori can be identified in feline mucosal secretions, and that a localized IgA immune response develops in gastric tissue of H. pylori-infected cats. The findings suggest a zoonotic risk from exposure to personnel handling H. pylori-infected cats in vivaria.

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