Aim: To investigate whether chronic H pylori infection has the potential to induce pancreatitis in the Mongolian gerbil model, and whether it is dependent on an intact type IV secretion system.
Methods: Mongolian gerbils were infected with wild type (WT) H pylori type I strain B128 or its isogenic mutant B128 deltacagY (defective type IV secretion). After seven months of infection, H pylori was reisolated from antrum and corpus and H pylori DNA was analyzed by semi-nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Inflammation and histological changes were documented in the gastric antrum, corpus, and pancreas by immunohistochemistry. Cytokine mRNA, gastric pH, plasma gastrin, amylase, lipase, and glucose levels were determined.
Results: The H pylori infection rate was 95%. Eight infected animals, but none of the uninfected group, developed transmural inflammation and chronic pancreatitis. Extensive interstitial fibrosis and inflammation of the pancreatic lobe adjacent to the antrum was confirmed by trichrome stain, and immuno-histochemically. Pro-inflammatory cytokine mRNA was significantly increased in the antral mucosa of all infected gerbils. In the corpus, only cytokine levels of WT-infected animals and those developing transmural inflammation and pancreatitis were significantly increased. Levels of lipase, but not glucose or amylase levels, were significantly reduced in the pancreatitis group. H pylori DNA was detected in infected antral and corpus tissue, but not in the pancreas.
Conclusion: H pylori infection is able to induce chronic pancreatitis in Mongolian gerbils independently of the type IV secretion system, probably by an indirect mechanism associated with a penetrating ulcer.