Risk factors for development of gastric adenocarcinoma include high dietary salt and Helicobacter pylori infection. Few animal models exist for the laboratory investigation of these factors. We examined gastric pathology resulting from H. pylori infection and high dietary salt as independent variables in commercially available, outbred Mongolian gerbils. Gastric adenocarcinoma and its precursor lesion, intestinal metaplasia, have been previously reported in inbred Mongolian gerbils (MGS/Sea) infected either with clinical isolates of H. pylori or with the strain ATCC 43504. In contrast, we utilized outbred gerbils [Crl:(MON)] infected with the Sydney strain of H. pylori. After 37 weeks, five of five infected animals had atrophic gastritis and intestinal metaplasia. These lesions were similar in description and time of appearance to the lesions reported in inbred gerbils. Atrophic gastritis and intestinal metaplasia also developed in six of six uninfected, outbred gerbils fed a 2.5% salt diet for 56 weeks. In contrast to the H. pylori-infected animals, these lesions were present without concurrent gastric inflammation. The outbred Mongolian gerbil therefore provides an excellent animal model for the study of several gastric cancer risk factors.