Helicobacter ganmani Infection Associated with a Spontaneous Outbreak of Inflammatory Bowel-like Disease in an IL-10-Deficient Mouse Colony
Background: A breeding colony of IL-10 deficient B6.129P2-Il10 tm1Cgn/J mice, kept under conventional conditions, developed an inflammatory bowel-like disease (IBD) with rectal prolapse and blood tinged diarrhoea. No clinical signs of disease were observed at the time of arrival to our animal house. These animals were originally planned to serve as a negative control group in an experimental infection study with Helicobacter species to investigate colonization of the murine gut.
Results: A spiral-shaped, Gram-negative bacterium was isolated from the breeding mice colony. In a first group of six animals, tissue specimens from the liver, small and large intestines, faeces and blood, were analysed by culture, PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE), species-specific PCR assays and DNA-sequencing, histology and serology. Helicobacter ganmani, but no other Helicobacter species, was isolated from the liver, small bowel, caecum, colon and faeces. We found inflammation in caeca, colon and livers, most pronounced in the caecal areas of culture positive mice with a severe typhlitis with cystic dilatation of glandular structures and irregular crypt architecture. Some animals showed a pronounced colitis with mucosal and sub-mucosal inflammatory infiltrates. Other animals displayed large lymphoid infiltrates in the livers and hepatitis. Tissue samples and sera from 18 additional animals from the same breeding colony were analysed by the same methods, except for culture. H. ganmani was identified by PCR in most tissue samples of the 18 additional animals as well. Sero-conversion to H. ganmani correlated well with histopathological changes. Conclusions: Our findings emphasize the importance of using Helicobacter-free animals to develop murine models of chronic hepatitis and colitis.