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Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2013 Dec;10(12):1037-43. doi: 10.1089/fpd.2013.1544. Epub 2013 Aug 17.

Influence of acid-adaptation of Campylobacter jejuni on adhesion and invasion of INT 407 cells.

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  • 11 Department of Poultry Science, University of Arkansas , Fayetteville, Arkansas.


The aim of this study was to determine the influence of acid-adaptation on the survival as well as adhesion and invasion of human intestinal cells by nine Campylobacter jejuni strains after exposure to different stress conditions. Acid-adapted and nonadapted C. jejuni were exposed to different secondary stress conditions such as acid (pH 4.5), starvation (phosphate-buffered saline, pH 7.2), or salt (3% wt/vol NaCl). After exposure to the secondary stress, the adhesion and invasion abilities of the strains were evaluated in vitro in tissue culture using the human intestinal cell line INT 407. The survival rates of acid-adapted cells of some strains of C. jejuni exposed to different secondary stresses were found to be significantly higher than the non-acid-adapted cells. Similarly, some strains also showed an increase in adhesion and invasion (p<0.05) when acid-adapted C. jejuni were exposed to stresses such as acid, starvation, or salt as compared to non-acid-adapted C. jejuni. We found that adaptation to acid stress can enhance the survival of C. jejuni when exposed to secondary stresses and, thus, result in increased adhesion and invasion of human intestinal cells in vitro. However, the survival rates as well as the degree of adhesion and invasion were found to vary with the strain of C. jejuni, the time of adaptation to acid, the type of the secondary stress and exposure time to the secondary stress. These results show that adaptation to stresses could influence virulence of C. jejuni. Understanding the conditions by which C. jejuni adapts to stresses will provide information concerning how this organism is able to survive inside and outside the host. This, in turn, could offer methods to reduce or eliminate C. jejuni in the environment.

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