In vitro subcultures of bacteria can lead to genetic and phenotypic changes. This study aimed at investigating the effect of repeated subcultures on the adhesion, motility, cytotoxicity, and gastric inflammation caused by Helicobacter pylori. H.pylori SS1 strain was subcultured 64 times on agar plates containing Brucella broth and 5% bovine calf serum. The adhesion, motility, cytotoxicity, and gastric inflammation produced in Mongolian gerbils were compared between the first and 64th subcultured strain. The adhesion rates, following 3 hr exposure of AGS cells to either the first strain or the 64th-transferred strain, were 21% and 12%, respectively. The motility of the 64th-transferred strain decreased significantly when compared to the 1st strain (9.1 mm vs. 15.1 mm). The cytotoxicity index tended to be higher in the first strain than in the 64th-transferred strain (73.7% vs. 69.2%). The initial infection rate on the gerbils showed no difference between the two strains. However, chronic gastric inflammation of the first strain-infected gerbils was somewhat more severe than that of the 64th-transferred strain-infected gerbils. Therefore, the use of repeatedly subcultured strains of H. pylori in virulence experiments can lead to different results from those of the original strain.
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