Identification of cholelithogenic enterohepatic Helicobacter species and their role in murine cholesterol gallstone formation

Kirk J. Maurer, Melanie M. Ihrig, Arlin B. Rogers, Vivian Ng, Guylaine Bouchard, Monika R. Leonard, Martin C. Carey, James G. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Helicobacter spp are common inhabitants of the hepatobiliary and gastrointestinal tracts of humans and animals and cause a variety of well-described diseases. Recent epidemiologic results suggest a possible association between enterohepatic Helicobacter spp and cholesterol cholelithiasis, chronic cholecystitis, and gallbladder cancer. To test this, we prospectively investigated the effects of Helicobacter spp infection in cholesterol gallstone pathogenesis in the highly susceptible C57L/J mouse model. Methods: Helicobacter spp-free adult male C57L mice were infected with several different enterohepatic Helicobacter spp or left uninfected and fed either a lithogenic diet or standard mouse chow for 8 and 18 weeks. At the conclusion of the study, bile was examined microscopically and diagnostic culture and polymerase chain reaction were performed. Results: Mice infected with Helicobacter bilis or coinfected with Helicobacter hepaticus and Helicobacter rodentium and fed a lithogenic diet developed cholesterol gallstones at 80% prevalence by 8 weeks compared with approximately 10% in uninfected controls. Monoinfections with H hepaticus, Helicobacter cinaedi, and H rodentium gave a cholesterol gallstone prevalence of 40%, 30%, and 20%, respectively; the latter 2 groups did not differ significantly from uninfected animals. Neither infected nor uninfected mice fed a chow diet developed cholesterol gallstones. Conclusions: These findings, along with prior epidemiologic studies, suggest that Helicobacter spp play a major role in the pathophysiology of cholesterol gallstone formation in mice and perhaps humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1023-1033
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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