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Open Access Comparison of Four Diagnostic Methods for Detection of Helicobacter Species in Laboratory Mice

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Four species of Helicobacter—H. muridarum, “H. rappini,” H. hepaticus, and H. bilis—have been identified in the gastrointestinal tract of rodents. The association of Helicobacter species with chronic gastrointestinal diseases in mice has raised concern about their impact on research results. In this study, different methods for detection of Helicobacter species in the mouse intestinal tract were compared: polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of 16S rRNA gene sequences, bacterial culture, electron microscopy, and histologic examination (Steiner stain). The PCR method was more sensitive in detecting murine Helicobacter species than was culture, electron microscopy, or histologic examination. Of the cecal specimens identified as Helicobacter species-positive by PCR, approximately 60% were identified as positive by each of the other methods. An 87.5% concordance was obtained by PCR screening of DNA from fecal and cecal specimens. Differentiation among murine Helicobacter species by colony morphologic or histologic features was not possible. Scanning electron microscopy and histologic examination indicated greater numbers of helical microorganisms, specifically H. hepaticus, in the cecum than in the colon. These results indicate that the PCR assays used can be performed on feces as a noninvasive means for rapidly screening large numbers of colony mice for murine Helicobacter species.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine 2: The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME 04609-1500

Publication date: 01 February 1998

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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