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Only limited information is available about the immunopathogenic properties of Arcobacter infection in vivo. Therefore, we performed a meta-analysis of published data in murine infection models to compare the pathogenic potential of Arcobacter butzleri with Campylobacter jejuni and commensal Escherichia coli as pathogenic and harmless reference bacteria, respectively.
Methodology / Principal Findings
Gnotobiotic IL-10-/- mice generated by broad-spectrum antibiotic compounds were perorally infected with A. butzleri (strains CCUG 30485 or C1), C. jejuni (strain 81-176) or a commensal intestinal E. coli strain. Either strain stably colonized the murine intestines upon infection. At day 6 postinfection (p.i.), C. jejuni infected mice only displayed severe clinical sequelae such as wasting bloody diarrhea. Gross disease was accompanied by increased numbers of colonic apoptotic cells and distinct immune cell populations including macrophages and monocytes, T and B cells as well as regulatory T cells upon pathogenic infection. Whereas A. butzleri and E. coli infected mice were clinically unaffected, respective colonic immune cell numbers increased in the former, but not in the latter, and more distinctly upon A. butzleri strain CCUG 30485 as compared to C1 strain infection. Both, A. butzleri and C. jejuni induced increased secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IFN-γ, TNF, IL-6 and MCP-1 in large, but also small intestines. Remarkably, even though viable bacteria did not translocate from the intestines to extra-intestinal compartments, systemic immune responses were induced in C. jejuni, but also A. butzleri infected mice as indicated by increased respective pro-inflammatory cytokine concentrations in serum samples at day 6 p.i.
Conclusion / Significance
A. butzleri induce less distinct pro-inflammatory sequelae as compared to C. jejuni, but more pronounced local and systemic immune responses than commensal E. coli in a strain-dependent manner. Hence, data point towards that A. butzleri is more than a commensal in vertebrate hosts.