Role of 13C-Urea Breath Test in Experimental Model of Helicobacter pylori Infection in Mice

António Mário Santos, Teresa Lopes, Mónica Oleastro, Paula Chaves, Rita Cordeiro, Maria Ferreira, Teresa Pereira, Jorge Machado, António Sousa Guerreiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Animal models have been widely used to study Helicobacter pylori infection. Evaluation of H. pylori infection status following experimental inoculation of mice usually requires euthanasia. The 13C-urea breath test ( 13C-UBT) is both sensitive and specific for detection of H. pylori in humans. Thus, it would be very useful to have such a test with the same accuracy for the follow-up of this infection in animal models of gastric infection. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate a 13C-UBT method for following the course of H. pylori infection in a mouse model. Material and Methods: A total of 50 female C57BL/6 mice were gavaged three times with either 10 8 colony-forming units of H. pylori (n=29) or saline solution only (n=21). After 2months of infection, mice were fasted for 14hours and 13C-UBT was performed using 300μg of 13C-urea. The mice were killed, and the stomach was removed and processed for immunohistochemistry and PCR. Results: The optimal time for breath sample collection in mice was found to be 15minutes. The 13C-UBT cutoff was set at 3.0‰δPDB. Using PCR as the gold standard, the sensitivity of 13C-UBT and immunohistochemistry was 96.6 and 72.4%, respectively, while the specificity was 85.7 and 95.2%, respectively. Conclusions: 13C-UBT was shown to be a reliable method for the detection of H. pylori infection in C57BL/6 mice and was even more accurate than immunohistochemistry. The use of 13C-UBT in the mouse model of H. pylori infection can be very useful to detect the bacterium without the need to kill the animals in long-term time course studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-326
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2011


  • C-urea breath test
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Mouse model


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