Spatial Distribution ofHelicobacterspp. in the Gastrointestinal Tract of Dogs

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Abstract

Background:

In dogs, the gastric Helicobacter spp. have been well studied, but there is little information regarding the other parts of the alimentary system. We sought to determine the spatial distribution of Helicobacter spp. in the gastrointestinal tract and the hepatobiliary system of dogs using culture-independent methods.

Materials and methods:

Samples of stomach, duodenum, ileum, cecum, colon, pancreas, liver, and bile from six dogs were evaluated for Helicobacter spp. by genus, gastric, and enterohepatic Helicobacter spp. Polymerase chain reaction, 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, immunohistochemistry, and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH).

Results:

In the stomach, Helicobacter spp. DNA was detected in all six dogs, with H. bizzozeronii and H. felis identified by specific polymerase chain reaction. Helicobacter organisms were localized within the surface mucus, the lumen of gastric glands, and inside parietal cells. The small intestine harbored gastric and enterohepatic Helicobacter spp. DNA/antigen in low amounts. In the cecum and colon, Helicobacter spp. DNA, with highest similarity to H. bilis/flexispira taxon 8, H. cinaedi, and H. canis, was detected in all six dogs. Helicobacter organisms were localized at the mucosal surface and within the crypts. Gastric Helicobacter spp. DNA was detected occasionally in the large intestine, but no gastric Helicobacter spp. were present in clone libraries or detected by FISH.

Conclusions:

This study demonstrates that in addition to the stomach, the large intestine of dogs is also abundantly colonized by Helicobacter spp. Additional studies are necessary to investigate the association between enterohepatic Helicobacter spp. and presence of intestinal inflammatory or proliferative disorders in dogs.

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