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High-fat, high-cholesterol diet increases the incidence of gastritis in LDL receptor-negative mice.

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Transgenic and knockout mice are widely used as models for atherogenesis studies. While developing a Helicobacter infection model in LDL receptor-negative (LDLR(-/-)) mice, we noticed that mice fed a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet often contracted gastritis independent of infection. To further investigate this finding, we studied 27 male and 18 female LDLR(-/-) mice fed high-fat, 1% or 1.25% cholesterol diets for 3 to 4 months. The extent of atherosclerosis was morphometrically analyzed in the whole aorta, and the degree of gastric inflammation was scored histologically in hematoxylin-eosin-stained stomach sections. The autoantibody titers to epitopes of oxidized LDL were also measured. Mice fed high-fat, high-cholesterol diets had a significantly higher incidence of gastritis than mice fed normal chow, 62% versus 5%, respectively (P<0.0001). This effect was specific for LDLR(-/-) mice, because no difference in gastritis was found in wild-type mice fed either diet. Animals with gastritis showed slightly more atherosclerosis than animals without gastritis: 16.3+/-6.4% versus 12.8+/-3.4% in males and 9.4+/-3.5% versus 6.5+/-3.3% in females. Cholesterol-fed mice also had significantly higher IgG autoantibody titers against modified LDL than normal chow-fed animals, but no difference was seen between the gastritis and nongastritis groups. We conclude that the standard high-fat, high-cholesterol diet commonly used in many murine models to induce atherosclerosis increased the incidence of gastritis significantly in LDLR(-/-) mice.

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