1 September 2011
Enterocolitis caused by Campylobacter jejuni-infections represents an important socioeconomic burden worldwide. Recent results from novel murine infection models reveal that the intestinal microbiota is essential for maintaining colonization resistance against C. jejuni. We extended these studies to investigate the role of nutrition and obesity in susceptibility to C. jejuni-infection. Gnotobiotic (GB) mice generated by antibiotic treatment, which were fed with a human cafeteria diet (CAF), as well as obese ( ob/ob) mice with a conventional microbiota harbored higher Escherichia coli loads in their colon as compared to respective controls. Following oral infection, C. jejuni 43431 ATCC readily colonized the intestines of CAF and ob/ob mice, whereas GB mice fed with a standard chow (MUD) eradicated the pathogen within days. Furthermore, live C. jejuni translocated into mesenteric lymph nodes of CAF, but not MUD mice. Strikingly, stably infected animals developed enterocolitis as indicated by increased numbers of immune and apoptotic cells in the colon in situ.
We conclude that a specific human diet and obesity render mice susceptible to C. jejuni infection. The corresponding murine models are excellently suited for the study of C. jejuni pathogenesis and will help to get further insights into interplays between C. jejuni, microbiota, diet, obesity and immunity.