Background & aims: Currently available Helicobacter pylori models show variable and, in some instances, poor colonization. There is a need for a strain with high colonizing ability to act as a standard for animal studies.
Methods: After screening a range of fresh clinical isolates and long-term adaptation in mice, a strain of H. pylon has been isolated with a very good colonizing ability.
Results: This strain, named the Sydney strain of H. pylori (strain SS1), is cagA and vacA positive. High levels of colonization (10(6)-10(7) colony-forming units/g tissue) were achieved consistently in C57BL/6 mice. Colonization levels varied depending on the mouse strain used with BALB/c, DBA/2, and C3H/He, all being colonized but in lower numbers. In all strains of mice, bacteria were clearly visible at the junctional zone between the antrum and the body. The phenotype was stable with colonizing ability remaining after 20 subcultures in vitro. The bacterium attached firmly to gastric epithelium. During 8 months, a chronic active gastritis slowly developed, progressing to severe atrophy in both C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice.
Conclusions: The Sydney strain of H. pylori is available to all and will provide a standardized mouse model for vaccine development, compound screening, and studies in pathogenesis.