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Survival of stress exposed Campylobacter jejuni in the murine macrophage J774 cell line

Šikić Pogačar, Maja, Rubeša Mihaljević, Roberta, Klančnik, Anja, Brumini, Gordana, Abram, Maja, Smole Možina, Sonja
International journal of food microbiology 2009 v.129 no.1 pp. 68-73
Campylobacter jejuni, food pathogens, bacterial contamination, starvation, nutrient deficiencies, heat stress, oxidative stress, stress tolerance, heat tolerance, cell culture, mice, macrophages, viability, bacterial adhesion, pathogen survival, virulence
Although campylobacters are relatively fragile and sensitive to environmental stresses, Campylobacter jejuni has evolved mechanisms for survival in diverse environments, both inside and outside the host. Their survival properties and pathogenic potential were assessed after subjecting food and clinical C. jejuni isolates to different stress conditions. After exposure to starvation (5 h and 15 h of nutrient depletion), a temperature shock (3 min at 55 °C) or oxidative stress (5 h and 15 h of atmospheric oxygen) we studied the culturability, viability and capability of adhesion, internalization and survival within the in vitro cell culture model using J774 murine macrophages. Starvation severely impaired C. jejuni culturability, particularly after 15 h of nutrient depletion. The number of viable cells decreased by 30-40%. Starved bacterial cells also showed a lower capability of adhesion, internalization and survival within macrophages. Despite the reduced culturability and viability of the heat treated cells, C. jejuni efficiently adhered to, and entered murine macrophages. However, the number of heat treated cells started to decrease more quickly than non-stressed cells. Within 24 h post infection all the cells were killed. The bacterial mechanisms involved in inactivating toxic oxygen products may enhance bacterial persistence through increased binding, entry and survival of both oxidatively stressed C. jejuni isolates inside the macrophages. Oxygen exposure increased the internalization and intracellular survival, although the cells cannot remain viable for extended periods within murine macrophages. However, any prolongation of survival in macrophages may increase the probability of transmission of bacteria in the host organism and have further implications in the pathogenesis of campylobacteriosis. This indicates that environmental stress conditions may be involved.