Interplay between Helicobacter pylori, diet and disease
Beckett, Amber Celeste
Epidemiologic studies have provided conflicting data regarding an association between Helicobacter pylori infection and iron deficiency anemia (IDA) in humans. In this thesis, I describe the use of a Mongolian gerbil model to investigate potential roles of H. pylori infection and diet in IDA. The experimental results indicate that H. pylori infection can cause IDA and that the composition of the diet influences the incidence and severity of H. pylori-induced IDA. Additionally, a high salt diet increased the incidence of gastric ulceration in infected gerbils. Finally, I examined H. pylori genetic adaptation in the Mongolian gerbil stomach. This environment is of particular interest because H. pylori-infected gerbils develop severe gastric inflammation and often develop gastric adenocarcinoma or gastric ulceration. I analyzed the whole genome sequences of H. pylori strains cultured from experimentally infected gerbils in comparison to the genome sequence of the input strain, and identified numerous polymorphisms that were positively selected in vivo.