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Arcobacter (A.) butzleri has been described as causative agent for sporadic cases of human gastroenteritis with abdominal pain and acute or prolonged watery diarrhea. In vitro studies revealed distinct adhesive, invasive and cytotoxic properties of A. butzleri. Information about the underlying immunopathological mechanisms of infection in vivo, however, are scarce. The aim of this study was to investigate the immunopathological properties of two different A. butzleri strains in a well-established murine infection model.
Gnotobiotic IL-10(-/-) mice, in which the intestinal microbiota was depleted by broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment, were perorally infected with two different A. butzleri strains isolated from a diseased patient (CCUG 30485) or fresh chicken meat (C1), respectively. Eventhough bacteria of either strain could stably colonize the intestinal tract at day 6 and day 16 postinfection (p.i.), mice did not exert infection induced symptoms such as diarrhea or wasting. In small intestines of infected mice, however, increased numbers of apoptotic cells could be detected at day 16, but not day 6 following infection with either strain. A strain-dependent influx of distinct immune cell populations such as T and B cells as well as of regulatory T cells could be observed upon A. butzleri infection which was accompanied by increased small intestinal concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF, IFN-γ, MCP-1 and IL-6. Remarkably, inflammatory responses following A. butzleri infection were not restricted to the intestinal tract, given that the CCUG 30485 strain induced systemic immune responses as indicated by increased IFN-γ concentrations in spleens at day 6, but not day 16 following infection.
Upon peroral infection A. butzleri stably colonized the intestinal tract of gnotobiotic IL-10(-/-) mice. The dynamics of distinct local and systemic inflammatory responses could be observed in a strain-dependent fashion pointing towards an immunopathogenic potential of A. butzleri in vivo. These results indicate that gnotobiotic IL-10(-/-) mice are well suited to further investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying arcobacteriosis in vivo.