Helicobacter pylori-associated gastric cancer in INS-GAS mice is gender specific

James G. Fox, Arlin B. Rogers, Melanie Ihrig, Nancy S. Taylor, Mark T. Whary, Graham Dockray, Andrea Varro, Timothy C. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

202 Scopus citations


Previous studies from our group have shown that hypergastrinemia in mice can synergize with Helicobacter felis infection to induce gastric carcinoma. In addition, epidemiological evidence and a recent study with C57BL/6 mice have strongly suggested a link between a high-salt diet during Helicobacter pylori infection and the development of hypergastrinemia and preneoplastic gastric lesions. To address the possible relationship between the two cofactors (gastrin and salt) and whether H. pylori can also lead to gastric cancer in this model, we undertook a longitudinal study involving 86 INS-GAS mice. The mice were fed either a high-salt (7.5%) or basal (0.25%) diet, and half were infected with H. pylori. Necropsies at 5 and 7 months postinfection included histopathological examination, quantitative culturing for bacterial colonization levels, and serology to estimate the magnitude of the Th1 and Th2 systemic inflammatory responses. Lesions consistent with in situ and intramucosal carcinoma were seen in H. pylori-infected male mice only. There was a highly significant main effect for Helicobacter infection status for all fundic and antral lesion parameters (P < 0.0001), as well as significant interactions of infection status with diet for all of the fundic parameters (all P < 0.03), except intestinal metaplasia. In subsequent ANOVAs in which the data were limited to that from infected animals, there was a highly significant main effect for time, diet, and gender (all P < 0.02) on all of the corpus lesion parameters scored (inflammation, atrophy, hyperplasia, metaplasia, and dysplasia/neoplasia). In addition, gender interacted significantly with time (all P < 0.03), and. H. pylori colonization increased quantitatively over the course of the experiment but were independent of either diet or gender. The Th1-associated serum IgG2a responses to H. pylori increased from the time of experimental infection to necropsy at 5 or 7 months and were similar among all experimentally infected mice with no influence of gender (P > 0.10) or dietary salt (P > 0.27). In contrast, the Th2-associated serum IgG1 response to H. pylori was significantly increased in infected male INS-GAS mice on the high-salt diet at 7 months postinfection (P < 0.012). These results show that H. pylori can also accelerate the development of gastric cancer in the INS-GAS mouse model, and the results suggest that salt has less of a procarcinogenic effect in the setting of endogenous hypergastrinemia. The increased Th2-associated humoral response of the infected male mice on the high-salt diet correlated with less severe gastric lesions. In the INS-GAS mouse model, male gastric tissue responded more rapidly and aggressively to H. pylori infection, high-salt diet, and the combination when compared with females; a finding that appears consistent with the greater incidence of gastric carcinoma in men. This study highlights the importance of using both genders to investigate the pathogenesis of H. pylori.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)942-950
Number of pages9
JournalCancer research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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