Development of gastric adenocarcinoma in Mongolian gerbils after long-term infection with Helicobacter pylori

J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2004 Oct;19(10):1192-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1746.2004.03469.x.


Background and aim: The experimental evidence that long-term colonization of Helicobacter pylori results in the development of gastric cancer in Mongolian gerbils has been reported only by two Japanese groups to date. This study aimed to investigate the carcinogenicity of H. pylori infection in a Mongolian gerbil model.

Methods: Thirty-six Mongolian gerbils (inner Mongolian origin) were divided into two groups (male to female ratio, 1:1) and orally inoculated with a standard H. pylori strain (ATCC43504) or H. pylori161 (isolated from a Chinese patient with gastric adenocarcinoma), respectively, once a week for 5 weeks. Another 10 control gerbils were given phosphate-buffered saline. The animals were killed 8, 20, 28 and 84 weeks after inoculation for bacterial and histological examination.

Results: Seven inoculated gerbils died at the week 42. Overall, H. pylori colonization was detected in 24 (83%) of the 29 available inoculated gerbils. The gastric lesions were aggravated gradually over time. At week 84, moderate to severe gastritis, characterized by diffuse infiltration of mononuclear cells and formation of multiple lymphoid follicles in mucosa and submucosa, and even the lymphoepithelial lesions, were observed. Epithelial hyperplasia were dominant in almost all gerbils. Four (24%) of the 17 animals had hyperplastic polyps. Intestinal metaplasia were rarely seen (in three gerbils). Well-differentiated gastric adenocarcinomas developed in three (18%) of the 17 gerbils after 84 weeks. Of the three gerbils, one female gerbil was infected with H. pylori161 and the others (one male and one female) were infected with ATCC43504.

Conclusions: The present study reconfirms that H. pylori infection alone can induce gastric adenocarcinoma in Mongolian gerbils and suggests that different species of gerbil and both standard and clinically isolated H. pylori strains can be used for investigating the carcinogenesis of H. pylori. This is the first report of the development of gastric cancer in female gerbils, which highlights the importance of using both sexes to investigate the pathogenesis of H. pylori and whether host susceptibility is influenced by sex.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / microbiology*
  • Animals
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Female
  • Gerbillinae
  • Helicobacter Infections / complications*
  • Helicobacter pylori*
  • Male
  • Models, Animal
  • Sex Factors
  • Stomach Neoplasms / microbiology*
  • Time Factors