Campylobacter – A Foodborne Pathogen
- Dr. Lata Galate, Sonal Bangde
Campylobacter jejuni is one of the leading causes of food-borne gastroenteritis. Because of the high prevalence of C. jejuni in poultry, poultry meat is considered a major source of C. jejuni infections for humans. However, it is not known whether all poultry-associated C. jejuni strains are capable of causing disease in humans. Four different virulence properties of C. jejuni strains were compared between 20 poultry isolates and 24 human isolates. Strains were chosen based on their PFGE pattern to represent a heterogeneous population. The isolates were compared for their ability to invade and induce interleukin-8 (IL-8) production in T84 cells, their production of functional cytolethal distending toxin (CDT) using HEp-2 cells, and their sodium deoxycholate resistance. All four virulence factors were present among strains of human and poultry origin, with strong differences observed among strains. For invasion and IL-8 induction, no difference was observed between the two populations. However, on average, human isolates arrested more HEp-2 cells in their cell cycle than did the poultry isolates (P=0.041), suggesting higher CDT production by the former. The ability to survive 16 000 mug sodium deoxycholate ml(-1) was significantly more pronounced (P=0.006) among human isolates than poultry isolates, although all strains possessed the cmeABC operon. These data suggest that all four virulence properties are widespread among C. jejuni isolates, but that a higher degree of bile-salt resistance and more pronounced CDT production are associated with strains causing enteritis in humans.