Murine neonates are highly resistant to Yersinia enterocolitica following orogastric exposure

Andrea Echeverry, Kurt Schesser, Rebecca D Adkins

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Abstract

Neonates are considered highly susceptible to gastrointestinal infections. This susceptibility has been attributed partially to immaturity in immune cell function. To study this phenomenon, we have developed a model system with murine neonates, using the natural orogastric route of transmission for the enteropathogen Yersinia enterocolitica. The susceptibilities of 7-day-old and adult mice to orogastric Y. enterocolitica infection were assessed in 50% lethal dose experiments. Remarkably, neonatal mice of either the BALB/c or C57BL/6 mouse strain showed markedly enhanced survival after infection compared to adult mice. The resistance of neonates was not due to failure of the bacteria to colonize neonatal tissues; Y. enterocolitica was readily detectable in the intestine and mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN) for at least 1 week after infection. In adult mice, Y. enterocolitica rapidly disseminated to the spleen and liver. In striking contrast, bacterial invasion of the spleen and liver in neonates was limited. Using flow cytometry and histology, we found substantial increases in the percentages of neutrophils and macrophages in the neonatal MLN, while influx of these cells into the adult MLN was limited. Similar results were obtained using two different high-virulence Y. enterocolitica strains. Importantly, depletion of neutrophils with a specific antibody led to increased translocation of the bacteria to the spleens and livers of neonates. Together, these experiments support the hypothesis that the neonatal intestinal immune system can rapidly mobilize innate phagocytes and thereby conine the bacterial infection to the gut, resulting in a high level of resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2234-2243
Number of pages10
JournalInfection and Immunity
Volume75
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2007

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Yersinia enterocolitica
Spleen
Lymph Nodes
Liver
Neutrophils
Infection
Yersinia Infections
Bacteria
Lethal Dose 50
Phagocytes
Inbred C57BL Mouse
Bacterial Infections
Intestines
Virulence
Immune System
Histology
Flow Cytometry
Macrophages
Antibodies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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Murine neonates are highly resistant to Yersinia enterocolitica following orogastric exposure. / Echeverry, Andrea; Schesser, Kurt; Adkins, Rebecca D.

In: Infection and Immunity, Vol. 75, No. 5, 01.05.2007, p. 2234-2243.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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