Rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) model of Helicobacter pylori: noninvasive detection and derivation of specific-pathogen-free monkeys

Lab Anim Sci. 1999 Apr;49(2):197-201.


Background and purpose: Development of the rhesus monkey model of Helicobacter pylori has been hampered by problems with serodetection and by the difficulty of identifying specific-pathogen (Helicobacter)-free animals. Our purpose was to determine whether detection could be improved and to determine if pathogen-free monkeys could be derived by nursery rearing.

Methods: An enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay (ELISA) and a [14C]urea breath test were compared to endoscopy to determine H. pylori infection status in rhesus macaques; 18 animals were hand raised in the nursery to determine whether pathogen-free animals could be selected.

Results: Helicobacter pylori infection was common in colony-raised young rhesus monkeys and was nearly universal by adulthood. Serodetection, using antigen from rhesus-derived H. pylori strains, was 95% sensitive and 94% specific. The [14C]urea breath test was 96% sensitive and 88% specific for detection of chronic Helicobacter infection in rhesus monkeys. Segregation of newborn animals within the first 24 h of life was a reliable method to obtain pathogen-free rhesus monkeys.

Conclusion: Isolation of specific-pathogen-free animals, together with better detection methods, may improve the value of the rhesus monkey model for the study of H. pylori pathogenesis, immune response, and vaccine development.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood
  • Breath Tests
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Gastritis / microbiology
  • Gastroscopy
  • Helicobacter Infections / diagnosis*
  • Helicobacter Infections / drug therapy
  • Helicobacter Infections / microbiology
  • Helicobacter pylori* / immunology
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms*
  • Urea / analysis


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Urea