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Induced Biliary Excretion of Listeria monocytogenes
- Hardy, Jonathan, Margolis, Jeffrey J., Contag, Christopher H.
- Infection and immunity 2006 v.74 no.3 pp. 1819-1827
- Gram-positive bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes, bile, cholecystokinin, excretion, feces, gall bladder, image analysis, immunocompromised population, intestines, listeriosis, mice, microbial growth, pathogenesis, pathogens
- Listeria monocytogenes is a ubiquitous gram-positive bacterium that can cause systemic and often life-threatening disease in immunocompromised hosts. This organism is largely an intracellular pathogen; however, we have determined that it can also grow extracellularly in animals, in the lumen of the gallbladder. The significance of growth in the gallbladder with respect to the pathogenesis and spread of listeriosis depends on the ability of the bacterium to leave this organ and be disseminated to other tissues and into the environment. Should this process be highly inefficient, growth in the gallbladder would have no impact on pathogenesis or spread, but if it occurs efficiently, bacterial growth in this organ may contribute to listeriosis and dissemination of this organism. Here, we use whole-body imaging to determine the efficacy and kinetics of food- and hormone-induced biliary excretion of L. monocytogenes from the murine gallbladder, demonstrating that transit through the bile duct into the intestine can occur within 5 min of induction of gallbladder contraction by food or cholecystokinin and that movement of bacteria through the intestinal lumen can occur very rapidly in the absence of fecal material. These studies demonstrate that L. monocytogenes bacteria replicating in the gallbladder can be expelled from the organ efficiently and that the released bacteria move into the intestinal tract, where they pass into the environment and may possibly reinfect the animal.