Campylobacter jejuni infection of mice initiated by intranasal administration was investigated as a potential model for studies of pathogenesis and immunity. By using a standard challenge (5 x 109 CFU), C. jejuni 81-176 was more virulent for BALB/c (72% mortality) than for C3H/Hej (50%), CBA/CAJ (30%), or C58/J (0%). Intranasal challenge of BALB/c was used to compare the relative virulence of three reference strains; C. jejuni 81- 176 was more virulent (killing 83% of challenged mice) than C. jejuni HC (0%) or C. coli VC-167 (0%). The course of intranasally initiated C. jejuni 81- 176 infection in BALB/c was determined. C. jejuni was recovered from the lungs, intestinal tract, liver, and spleen at 4 h after challenge, the first interval evaluated. After this initial interval, three distinct patterns of infection were recognized: (i) a progressive decline in number of C. jejuni CFU (stomach, blond, lungs), (ii) decline followed by a second peak in the number of organisms recovered at 2 or 3 days postchallenge (intestine, liver, mesenteric lymph nodes), and (iii) persistence of approximately the same number of C. jejuni CFU during the course of the experiment (spleen). Intranasally induced infection initiated with a sublethal number of bacteria or intranasal immunization with killed Campylobacter preparations resulted in both the generation of Campylobacter antigen-specific immune responses and an acquired resistance to homologous rechallenge. The model was used to evaluate the relative virulence of nine low-in vitro-passage (no more than five passages) isolates of C. jejuni species from patients with diarrhea. The patient isolates were differentially virulent for mice; one killed all exposed mice, three were avirulent (no deaths) and the remainder showed an intermediate virulence, killing 17 to 33%. Mouse virulence of Campylobacter strains showed a trend toward isolates originating from individuals with watery diarrhea; however, no association was found between mouse virulence and other signs or symptoms. There were no observed relationships between mouse virulence and bacterial Lior serotype or Fla polymorphic group. Intranasal challenge of BALB/c with C. jejuni is a useful model for the study of infection and vaccination-acquired immunity to this agent.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases