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Toxicol Pathol. 1997 Nov-Dec;25(6):597-605.

Promotion by Helicobacter hepaticus-induced hepatitis of hepatic tumors initiated by N-nitrosodimethylamine in male A/JCr mice.

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Intramural Research Support Program, SAIC Frederick, Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center, Maryland 21702-1201, USA.


A new murine Helicobacter species, Helicobacter hepaticus, infects the livers of mice, causing a progressive chronic active hepatitis culminating in hepatocellular tumors. To examine the role of chronic H. hepaticus infection in carcinogenesis, H. hepaticus-infected male infant mice of A/JCr strain were given a single i.p. dose of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). Noninfected A/J mice similarly treated with NDMA served as controls. The effect of hepatitis induced by H. hepaticus was studied for 64 wk. At 31-36 wk, the incidence of hepatocellular adenomas in infected mice was significantly higher than in noninfected mice (82 vs 52%; p = 0.05). The multiplicity of hepatocellular tumors was also significantly higher in infected mice compared to noninfected mice (3.2 +/- 0.09 vs 0.09 +/- 0.2; p = 0.03). At 51-64 wk, many (10/18) infected mice developed hepatocellular carcinomas while only 2 of 19 control mice developed such tumors (p = 0.005). Overexpression of cyclin D was observed in hepatocytes as well as adenomas induced by NDMA in H. hepaticus-infected mice, suggesting its role in inflammation, abnormal cell growth, and early neoplasia. High molecular weight keratins were highly expressed in hyperplastic oval cells in hepatitis and in liver tumors in mice with hepatitis, establishing a reliable marker for oval cells in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue. Thus, chronic H. hepaticus infection significantly stimulated cyclin D expression, accelerated the development of liver tumors, increased the multiplicity of such lesions, and enhanced the progression of benign to malignant tumors.

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