Background and aim. Helicobacter pylori is known to be a major pathogenic factor in the development of gastritis, peptic ulcer disease and gastric cancer. Recently, chicken egg yolk immunoglobulin Y (IgY) has been recognized as an inexpensive antibody source for passive immunization against gastrointestinal infections. The present study was designed to investigate the effect of anti-urease IgY on H. pylori infection in Mongolian gerbils. Methods. H. pylori-infected Mongolian gerbils were administered a diet containing anti-urease IgY, with or without famotidine (F). After 10 weeks, bacterial culture and measurement of the gastric mucosal myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity were performed. In a second experiment, another group of gerbils was started on a diet containing F + IgY a week prior to H. pylori inoculation. After 9 weeks, these animals were examined. Results. In the H. pylori-infected gerbils, there were no significant differences in the level of H. pylori colonization among the different dietary and control groups. However, the MPO activity was significantly decreased in the H. pylori group administered the F + IgY diet compared with that in the H. pylori group administered the IgY, F, or control diet. Furthermore, in the gerbils administered the F + IgY diet prior to the bacterial inoculation, inhibition of H. pylori colonization and suppression of the elevated gastric mucosal MPO activity were observed. Conclusions. Oral administration of urease-specific IgY not only inhibited H. pylori disease activity in H. pylori-infected gerbils, but also prevented H. pylori colonization in those not yet infected. These encouraging results may pave the way for a novel therapeutic and prophylactic approach in the management of H. pylori-associated gastroduodenal disease.
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