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primers, the first PCR products were amplified with five sets of species-specific primers to identify Helicobacter species. For samples that could not be identified using the primer sets, the first PCR products were sequenced. To avoid nonspecific bands, the restriction pattern was evaluated.


Results of H. hepaticus detection are shown in Table 1. For mice, all 116 samples from two breeding facilities were negative, but 35 samples from five research institutions of the 194 samples from 19 research institutions were positive. For gerbils, seven samples from one breeding facility of the 11 samples from two breeding facilities were positive, and 43 samples from four research institutions of the 63 samples from six research institutions were positive. Multiple pale to yellow foci were seen on the liver surface of almost 50% of H. hepaticus-PCR-positive mice and gerbils.

Results of Helicobacter species detection are shown in Table 2. Seventy-nine of 149 samples were positive with Helicobacter genus-specific primers. Among the 79 samples, 20, 35, and 26 samples were identified as H. hepaticus, H. rodentium, and other species, respectively. Two samples from one facility were positive for both H. hepaticus and H. rodentium. No gross lesions were observed in the mice. According to the sequences of the first PCR products from the 26 samples classified as others, these samples were identified as Helicobacter species belonging to the same cluster as H. rodentium.


H. hepaticus was detected not only from mice but also from gerbils. In this study, it was suggested that the gerbil is one of the hosts of H. hepaticus infection.

TABLE 1 Detection of Helicobacter hepaticus 16S rRNA in Laboratory Mice and Gerbils Using Polymerase Chain Reaction


No. Positive /

No. Tested in Samples

No. Positive /

No. Tested in Facilities



Breeding facilities

0 / 116


0 / 2


Research institutions

35 / 194


5 / 19




Breeding facilities

7 / 11


1 / 2


Research institutions

43 / 63


4 / 6


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