Open Access Immune Response to and Histopathology of Campylobacter jejuni Infection in Ferrets (Mustela putorius furo)

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Campylobacter jejuni is 1 of the most common enteric bacterial pathogens worldwide. The mechanisms of pathogenesis remain obscure, in part because of limitations of small animal models. Young ferrets develop diarrhea when fed C. jejuni, but their pathology and the immune response after infection have not been examined in detail. In the present study, we examined the pathogenesis of C. jejuni CG8421 and associated immune responses in ferrets. After oral infection with C. jejuni CG8421, 86.7% of the animals developed diarrhea and inflammatory responses that were similar to those seen in human infection. Pronounced histopathologic changes in the colonic mucosa of infected animals were observed during the acute phase (days 1 through 3) of infection. Electron micrographs of colonic epithelium revealed disruption of the villi and internalized bacteria that were not within membrane vacuoles. During the acute phase, C. jejuni was isolated from the livers of 7 of 9 (78%) animals, and bacteria were visualized immunohistochemically in the livers from 5 of the 7 animals (71%) from which C. jejuni was isolated. A vigorous systemic and mucosal immune response to Campylobacter antigens was elicited after infection of ferrets. The data presented contribute to the current knowledge of the pathogenicity of and immunologic response to C. jejuni CG8421 in ferrets and better understanding of this model.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Veterinary Medicine, Naval Medical Research Center, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA. 2: Division of Pathology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Naval Medical Research Center, Silver Spring, Maryland 3: Enteric Diseases Department, Naval Medical Research Center, Silver Spring, Maryland

Publication date: August 1, 2009

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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