Evidence for a primate origin of zoonotic Helicobacter suis colonizing domesticated pigs

Bram Flahou, Mirko Rossi, Jaco Bakker, Jan A.M. Langermans, Edwin Heuvelman, Jay V Solnick, Miriam E. Martin, Jani O'Rourke, Le Duc Ngoan, Nguyen Xuan Hoa, Masahiko Nakamura, Anders Øverby, Hidenori Matsui, Hiroyoshi Ota, Takehisa Matsumoto, Dennis L. Foss, Laurice A. Kopta, Oladipo Omotosho, Maria Pia Franciosini, Patrizia Casagrande ProiettiAizhen Guo, Han Liu, Gabriela Borilova, Ana Paula Bracarense, Sara K. Lindén, Sofie De Bruyckere, Guangzhi Zhang, Chloë De Witte, Annemieke Smet, Frank Pasmans, Richard Ducatelle, Jukka Corander, Freddy Haesebrouck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Helicobacter suis is the second most prevalent Helicobacter species in the stomach of humans suffering from gastric disease. This bacterium mainly inhabits the stomach of domesticated pigs, in which it causes gastric disease, but it appears to be absent in wild boars. Interestingly, it also colonizes the stomach of asymptomatic rhesus and cynomolgus monkeys. The origin of modern human-, pig-or non-human primate-associated H. suis strains in these respective host populations was hitherto unknown. Here we show that H. suis in pigs possibly originates from non-human primates. Our data suggest that a host jump from macaques to pigs happened between 100 000 and 15 000 years ago and that pig domestication has had a significant impact on the spread of H. suis in the pig population, from where this pathogen occasionally infects humans. Thus, in contrast to our expectations, H. suis appears to have evolved in its main host in a completely different way than its close relative Helicobacter pylori in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-86
Number of pages10
JournalISME Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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