C57BL/6 mice and Mongolian gerbils were infected with Helicobacter felis and Helicobacter pylori SS1 strain to investigate the effects of different Helicobacter species on gastric inflammation and epithelial cell proliferation in different animal models. At 4 weeks, gerbils infected with H. pylori or H. felis developed antral gastritis. Onset of gastritis varied between the models, with mice infected with H. pylori having minimal inflammation at 8 weeks. In mice, H. felis, but not H. pylori, induced significantly increased epithelial cell proliferation in the cardia and corpus at 8 weeks, but no changes were observed at 4 weeks. In gerbils, both H. pylori and H. felis significantly increased antral epithelial cell proliferation at 4 weeks. Epithelial cell proliferation induced by H. felis in gerbils was twice that stimulated by H. pylori. These studies demonstrate host differences in the development of Helicobacter species-induced gastric inflammation and a marked difference in epithelial cell proliferation induced by H. pylori and H. felis in 2 animal models.