Characterization of the Gastric Immune Response in Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) With Helicobacter-Associated Gastritis

K. A. Terio, Linda Munson, P. F. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Captive cheetahs have an unusually severe progressive gastritis that is not present in wild cheetahs infected with the same strains of Helicobacter. This gastritis, when severe, has florid lymphocyte and plasma cell infiltrates in the epithelium and lamina propria with gland destruction, parietal cell loss, and, in some cases, lymphoid follicles. The local gastric immune response was characterized by immunohistochemistry in 21 cheetahs with varying degrees of gastritis. The character of the response was similar among types of gastritis except that cheetahs with severe gastritis had increased numbers (up to 70%) of lamina proprial CD79a+CD21- B cells. CD3+CD4+ T cells were present in the lamina propria, and CD3+CD8α+ T cells were within the glandular epithelium. Lymphoid aggregates had follicular differentiation with a central core of CD79a+/CD45R+ B cells and with an outer zone of CD3+ T cells that expressed both CD4 and CD8 antigens. MHC II antigens were diffusely expressed throughout the glandular and superficial epithelium. No cheetah had evidence of autoantibodies against the gastric mucosa when gastric samples from 30 cheetahs with different degrees of gastritis were incubated with autologous and heterologous serum. These findings indicate that T-cell distribution in cheetahs is qualitatively similar to that in other species infected with Helicobacter but that large numbers of lamina propria activated B cells and plasma cells did distinguish cheetahs with severe gastritis. Further research is needed to determine whether alterations in the Th1:Th2 balance are the cause of this more plasmacytic response in some cheetahs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)824-833
Number of pages10
JournalVeterinary Pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Acinonyx jubatus
  • cheetah
  • gastritis
  • Helicobacter
  • immunophenotype
  • lymphocyte
  • MHC II
  • stomach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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