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Keywords:

  • Helicobacter pylori;
  • animal model;
  • guinea pig;
  • gastritis

Seven Dunkin-Hartley guinea pigs were infected with the Sydney strain of H. pylori (SS1). Gastric histopathology was evaluated and serum antibody response to H. pylori cell-surface proteins was analysed by enzyme immunoassay (EIA) and immunoblot. Tissue and faecal samples from five control animals were analysed for the presence of naturally occurring Helicobacter spp. infection by culture and Helicobacter genus-specific PCR. The H. pylori infection persisted for 5 months, in most animals accompanied by a histologically severe antral gastritis, exhibiting focal degeneration and necrosis of gastric crypt epithelium. Increased numbers of mitotic figures were observed in the gastric epithelium, indicating a regenerative process. Infected animals displayed specific antibodies towards H. pylori cell-surface proteins in immunoblot, whereas EIA was of dubious value creating false-positive results. Serum complement C3 and cholesterol levels appeared to be elevated in infected animals. Helicobacter spp. infection was not detected in the control animals. The persistent infection, accompanied by severe gastritis and a prominent serum antibody response, and the apparent absence of a natural Helicobacter spp. infection makes the guinea pig model useful in H. pylori research.