Open Access Eradication of Enteric Helicobacters in Mongolian Gerbils is Complicated by the Occurrence of Clostridium difficile Enterotoxemia

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Outbred Mongolian gerbils from a United States commercial source were examined for colonization with naturally occurring enterohepatic Helicobacter spp. Helicobacter spp. were identified in the cecum and colon by culture and by using genus-specific primers in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays. Nutritionally balanced triple-antibiotic wafers (containing amoxicillin, metronidazole, and bismuth) used previously to eliminate helicobacter infections in mice were administered in an attempt to eradicate the naturally occurring novel helicobacters in the gerbils. After 7 days of antibiotic treatment, two of the experimental animals died due to Clostridium difficile-associated enterotoxemia. However, at 3 weeks after antibiotic cessation, the surviving three animals had no Helicobacter spp. in the cecum or colon according to PCR analysis. Eradication of Helicobacter spp. using dietary administration of antibiotics was complicated by the presence of toxin-producing C. difficile. An alternate method to develop helicobacter-free gerbils (such as Caesarian rederivation) may be necessary.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Comparative Medicine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139 2: Division of Comparative Medicine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Ave., Bldg. 16, Room 825C, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139

Publication date: June 1, 2005

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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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