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Comparison of the Pathogenic Potential of Campylobacter jejuni, C. upsaliensis and C. helveticus and Limitations of Using Larvae of Galleria mellonella as an Infection Model.

Abstract

Campylobacter enteritis in humans is primarily associated with C. jejuni/coli infection. Other species cause campylobacteriosis relatively infrequently; while this could be attributed to bias in diagnostic methods, the pathogenicity of non-jejuni/coli Campylobacter spp. such as C. upsaliensis and C. helveticus (isolated from dogs and cats) is uncertain. Galleria mellonella larvae are suitable models of the mammalian innate immune system and have been applied to C. jejuni studies. This study compared the pathogenicity of C. jejuni, C. upsaliensis, and C. helveticus isolates. Larvae inoculated with either C. upsaliensis or C. helveticus showed significantly higher survival than those inoculated with C. jejuni. All three Campylobacter species induced indistinguishable histopathological changes in the larvae. C. jejuni could be isolated from inoculated larvae up to eight days post-inoculation whereas C. upsaliensis and C. helveticus could only be isolated in the first two days. There was a significant variation in the hazard rate between batches of larvae, in Campylobacter strains, and in biological replicates as random effects, and in species and bacterial dose as fixed effects. The Galleria model is applicable to other Campylobacter spp. as well as C. jejuni, but may be subject to significant variation with all Campylobacter species. While C. upsaliensis and C. helveticus cannot be considered non-pathogenic, they are significantly less pathogenic than C. jejuni.

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