A novel isolation protocol and probe-based RT-PCR for diagnosis of gastric infections with the zoonotic pathogen Helicobacter suis

Caroline Blaecher, Eva Bauwens, Alfred Tay, Fanny Peters, Sylvia Dobbs, John Dobbs, André Charlett, Richard Ducatelle, Freddy Haesebrouck*, Annemieke Smet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Helicobacter suis is a very fastidious microorganism associated with gastritis, gastric ulcers, and mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma in humans. In vitro isolation of this agent from human patients has so far been unsuccessful. Materials and methods: A probe-based real-time PCR (RT-PCR) for the rapid detection of H. suis in gastric biopsies was developed. Secondly, a mouse-passage-based protocol was optimized for isolation of low numbers of viable H. suis bacteria. Mice were inoculated with different numbers of viable H. suis (102-108) and kept for 4 weeks to allow multiplication of this pathogen. Results: The probe-based real-time PCR (RT-PCR) exhibited a high degree of diagnostic specificity and analytical sensitivity, high linear correlations (r2 between 0.995 and 0.999), and high amplification efficiencies (>90%) for H. suis. No cross-reactivity was detected with human, porcine, non-human primate, and murine DNA nor with DNA from other bacteria including Helicobacter spp. and Campylobacter spp. H. suis was successfully re-isolated from the stomach of mice inoculated with at least 104 viable H. suis, using a biphasic medium (pH 5), consisting of Brucella agar with Brucella broth on top, both supplemented with vitox supplement, Campylobacter-selective supplement, amphotericin (5 μg/mL), HCl (0.05%), fetal bovine serum (20%), and linezolid (5 μg/mL). Linezolid was necessary to inhibit proliferation of contaminants, including lactobacilli. Conclusion: The methods described above can be implemented for detection or isolation of H. suis from human gastric biopsies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12369
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Research Fund of Ghent University, Belgium, Code GOA 01G00408, and by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO Vlaanderen). The authors would like to thank Nathalie Van Rysselberghe and Sofie De Bruyckere for their excellent technical assistance.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • Helicobacter suis
  • diagnosis
  • isolation
  • probe-based RT-PCR


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