Background: Helicobacter pylori is a causative agent of gastric and duodenal ulcers and gastric cancer. Its urease enzyme allows survival in acid conditions and drives bacterial intracellular metabolism. We aimed to investigate the role of urease in determining the intragastric distribution of Helicobacter species in vivo.
Materials and methods: The C57BL/6 mouse model of gastritis was used for infection with Helicobacter felis (CS1) or H. pylori (SS1). Urease-modulating compounds urea and/or fluorofamide (urease inhibitor) were administered to mice over 7 days. Concurrent gastric acid inhibition by omeprazole was also examined. Bacterial distribution in the antrum, body, antrum/body, and body/cardia transitional zones was graded "blindly" by histologic evaluation. Bacterial colony counts on corresponding tissue were also conducted.
Results: Urease inhibition by fluorofamide decreased H. pylori survival in most gastric regions (p < .05); however, there were no marked changes to H. felis colonization after this treatment. There was a consistent trend for decreased antral colonization, and an increase in antrum/body transitional zone and body colonization with excess 5% or 6% (w/v) urea treatment. Significant reductions of both Helicobacter species were observed with the co-treatment of urea and fluorofamide (p < .05). Collateral treatment with omeprazole did not alter H. pylori colonization patterns caused by urea/fluorofamide.
Conclusions: Urease perturbations affect colonization patterns of Helicobacter species. Combined urea and fluorofamide treatment reduced the density of both Helicobacter species in our infection model.