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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2002 Jun;68(6):2893-900.

Ability of the Listeria monocytogenes strain Scott A to cause systemic infection in mice infected by the intragastric route.

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Department of Pathobiological Sciences School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


Listeriosis is an important food-borne disease that causes high rates of morbidity and mortality. For reasons that are not clear, most large outbreaks of human listeriosis involve Listeria monocytogenes serotype 4b. Relatively little is known about the pathogenesis of listeriosis following gastrointestinal exposure to food-borne disease isolates of L. monocytogenes. In the present study, we investigated the pathogenesis of systemic infection by the food-borne isolate Scott A in an intragastric (i.g.) mouse challenge model. We found that the severity of infection with L. monocytogenes Scott A was increased in mice made neutropenic by administration of monoclonal antibody RB6-8C5. This observation was similar to a previous report on a study with the laboratory strain L. monocytogenes EGD. Prior administration of sodium bicarbonate did not enhance the virulence of L. monocytogenes strain Scott A for i.g. inoculated mice. Following i.g. inoculation of mice, two serotype 4b strains of L. monocytogenes (Scott A and 101M) achieved a greater bacterial burden in the spleen and liver and elicited more severe histopathological damage to those organs than did a serotype 1/2a strain (EGD) and a serotype 1/2b stain (CM). Of the four strains tested, only strain CM exhibited poor survival in synthetic gastric fluid in vitro. The other three strains exhibited similar patterns of survival at pHs of greater than 5 and relatively rapid (<30 min) loss of viability at pHs of less than 5.0. Growth of L. monocytogenes Scott A at temperatures of 12.5 to 37 degrees C did not affect its ability to cause systemic infection in i.g. inoculated mice. These observations suggest that the serotype 4b L. monocytogenes strains Scott A and 101M possess one or more virulence determinants that make them better able to cause systemic infection following inoculation via the g.i. tract than do the serotype 1/2 strains EGD and CM.

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