In order to develop a model for the study of gastric spiral bacteria, and based on the observation that Wistar rats do not carry urease-positive spiral bacteria in their gastric mucosa, mucus from a pig naturally colonised by (an organism with 16S rDNA 99.5% similar to that of type 1), was inoculated into 35 Wistar rats (test group). Fourteen rats were given mucus taken from -negative swine (control group). Five test animals and two controls were killed 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 26 and 52 weeks after inoculation. was observed in the antral mucosa of all test rats but not in the gastric mucosa of any control animal. The number of organisms was high from the beginning of the infection and increased over the period of observation. The bacteria were seen deep in the gastric antral glands, especially in the advanced stages of infection. Histological study of two test rats killed 1 week after inoculation and of all rats killed from the second week after infection revealed the presence of a mild inflammatory response characterised by the infiltration of small numbers of mononuclear cells and scarce polymorphonuclear cells in the subglandular region of the antral mucosa. Lymphoid aggregates were observed in the antral mucosa of rats killed from 1 month onwards, and increased in size and number over the period of infection. Control animals did not have any histological changes in the gastric mucosa. The natural transmission of the bacterium from rat to rat was also investigated. Five non-inoculated animals (contact group) and rats of the test group were maintained in the same cage and killed after 12 weeks. Two animals of the contact group showed slight infiltration of mononuclear cells in the antral mucosa, although they were not colonised by , a finding that supports the hypothesis of faecal-oral transmission of gastric spp. This animal model could be used not only to understand different aspects of the relationship between spiral bacteria and the gastric mucosa but also to obtain large numbers of the organism, free from other spiral bacteria to study some of its properties.


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